Solicitor smuggled drugs and mobile phones into prison

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Ritesh Brahmbhatt convicted alongside four others

A SOLICITOR has been convicted of trying to smuggle drugs and mobile phones into a prison.

Ritesh Brahmbhatt, 30, from Ilford, had intended to pass on the items to HMP Pentonville inmates David Sterling and Desmond Brown during the visit in September 2009.

But when he was searched by prison security drugs and mobile phone parts were found inside Brahmbhatt’s oversized shoes and hidden in his trousers.

During a police interview the 30-year-old had claimed he had been threatened by a man at gunpoint who forced him to smuggle the items into the prison.

But when officers launched an investigation they found four other people, including two Pentonville prisoners, were involved in a lengthy conspiracy to smuggle goods into the prison.

Brahmbhatt later admitted the charges after he was caught just months later trying to smuggle a mobile phone into a legal visit with a prisoner at HMP Winchester.

Brahmbhatt –and four others Danielle Porter, 24, from Barking, Calvin Chance, 26, from Leytonstone, east London, David Sterling, 28, of no fixed abode, and Desmond Brown, 26, from Leytonstone, east London – were all found guilty at Blackfriars Crown Court.

The Court heard Brahmbhatt had been working with the prisoners’ friend Chance and Brown’s girlfriend Porter, to smuggle drugs, mobile phones, phone parts and scales into HMP Pentonville between March and September 2009.

Prison staff became suspicious after routine searches in the cells of inmates Sterling and Brown uncovered drugs and mobile phones.

Due to the flow of phones and drugs into the prison, staff at HMP Pentonville decided to carry out searches of all visitors, including legal representatives.

On 17 September 2009, specially trained drugs dogs gave a positive indication that Brahmbhatt was in possession of drugs.

Prison officers found a package of cannabis, some mephedrone, and mobile phone parts hidden inside shoes which were several sizes too big for him. More cannabis was hidden down the front of his trousers and in his locker. Two further mobile phones along with £300 in cash were also found. Additionally, traces of Porter’s DNA was found on one of these mobile phones seized from the locker – disproving Brahmbhatt’s claim later to police that he was threatened days before he smuggled items into the prison.

CPS London reviewing lawyer Robert Hutchinson, said: “These individuals entered into a sophisticated conspiracy lasting many months to smuggle drugs and mobile phones into prison.

“The two serving prisoners and their solicitor, supported by the others outside prison, made nearly £20,000 on the prison black market. A painstaking investigation by police and a robust prosecution by the CPS meant that Brahmbhatt was convicted alongside the very same individuals he once represented.”

All five defendants were remanded in custody pending sentencing on a date to be fixed.

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