Smuggling policeman cops community work

Lou Perese admitted delivering contraband including cigarettes, cannabis and tattoo ink to prisoners. Photo / Sarah Ivey
Lou Perese admitted delivering contraband including cigarettes, cannabis and tattoo ink to prisoners. Photo / Sarah Ivey
The west Auckland police officer who smuggled cannabis, tobacco and other items to prisoners was today sentenced for 150 hours' community work.

Lotovale Perese, who was a police officer for 13 years, gave items to prisoners in court holding cells over a six month period earlier this year.

His lawyer, Richard Earwaker, said he did so to keep the peace in the cells as tension among prisoners was high after the ban on smoking there.

Judge David Wilson said a prison sentence would not be appropriate and would in fact place Perese at risk of harm from people he used to deal with and who might have pressured him into smuggling the items, which included tobacco, ink, cigarettes, letters and other contraband.

It could not be proved that Perese delivered cannabis, but he was charged with offering to supply the drug.

"It's a sad day indeed to see you in the dock," Judge Wilson told Perese. "You've been a man who's offered a great deal to the community ... you had conducted yourself in and around the court in a way which earned the respect of everyone."

Both the judge and Mr Earwaker described the offending of Perese, who previously had a clean record, as "inexplicable".

After his appearance, Perese received hugs and best wishes from a large contingent of people who turned up to court to watch the sentencing.

Outside court, Mr Earwaker said Perese was glad the ordeal was over and he had "got some options"for work.

Perese never intended to cause harm, but recognised his actions had.

 

 

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