12 Sep 2013

Officer admits smuggling contraband

7:08 pm on 12 September 2013

A police officer has admitted supplying banned items to prisoners in court cells.

Lotovale Perese, 42, appeared in the Waitakere District Court on Thursday morning.

He originally faced a total of 35 charges of supplying contraband such as tobacco and cigarettes, and one charge of knowingly supplying cannabis.

About half of those charges were withdrawn on Thursday, and Perese pleaded guilty to 18 counts.

Perese was a prisoner escort based at the Henderson station, and had been in the police force for 11 years. He resigned two weeks ago.

Judge Heemi Taumaunu said the maximum sentence for the charges was three months' imprisonment.

Perese was remanded on bail and will appear for sentencing in December.

Police say Perese let his colleagues down badly. Detective Inspector Bruce Scott says he still doesn't know why Perese did it and he never made any money from his actions.

He told Checkpoint Perese smuggled in a wide range of banned goods.