Former prison officer jailed for longer

A prison officer who was caught smuggling drugs into a prison she worked in has had her sentence increased following an intervention by the Solicitor General, Rt Hon Michael Ellis QC MP.

Hannah Gaves, 27, was a prison officer at HMP Erlestoke in January 2019. After receiving information that Gaves was smuggling illicit items into the prison, she was searched and found to be in possession of some cannabis, cigarettes and 6.05g of crack cocaine.

Gaves admitted possession of the cigarettes and cannabis but denied knowledge of the cocaine. In a police interview, she stated that she felt under pressure from an individual who would harm her if she did not smuggle in the contraband. She refused to name the individual concerned.

Gaves pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply Class A and B drugs, as well as attempting to bring List C prohibited articles into a prison. She was sentenced to 3 years’ imprisonment on 28 August 2020 at Salisbury Crown Court.

The sentence was referred to the Court of Appeal by the Solicitor General under the Unduly Lenient Sentence (ULS) scheme. On 4 December the sentence was found to be unduly lenient and increased to 4 years’ and 8 months’ imprisonment.

After the hearing at the Court of Appeal the Solicitor General, Rt Hon Michael Ellis QC MP, said:

Gaves intentionally smuggled contraband into prison with the intention of supplying dangerous drugs. She betrayed the trust inherent in her office. The decision by the Court of Appeal to increase her sentence today was the right one.

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