Kidney patient prisoner smuggled phone given to him in hospital into Leeds jail

A prisoner with kidney disease smuggled a mobile phone into prison which was given to him when he was taken to hospital for dialysis treatment.

Wednesday, 30th October 2019, 11:45 am
HMP Wealstun

Arfan Arif was handed the mobile phone in a crisp packet by a man in the hospital waiting area.

The 38-year-old was found in possession of the device when he was search on his return to HMP Wealstun, near Wetherby.

Leeds Crown Court heard inmates at the jail had "exploited" Arif's serious illness and bullied him into taking receipt of the phone.

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Leeds Crown Court

Arif is currently serving a seven-year prison sentence, imposed in 2016, for drug trafficking.

The court heard he has been diagnosed with a kidney disease and has to be taken from jail to hospital three times a week for dialysis.

The offence happened on November 28 last year when Arif was taken to St Luke's Hospital, in Bradford, escorted by a prison officer.

Bashir Ahmed, prosecuting, said: "The defendant took a seat in the waiting area immediately next to another young Asian male who happened to be there for a great deal of time prior to the defendant arriving.

"During the course of waiting the escort decided to take a few steps away to find out where the transport was to take them back to the prison.

"The defendant took the opportunity of taking a crisp packet and putting it initially in his bag and then subsequently concealing it in his jacket.

"The bag had been left on the side by the Asian male.

"The escorting officer was highly suspicious because the defendant became somewhat erratic in terms of his behaviour."

Arif was later found in possession of the phone when he was searched.

He pleaded guilty to taking a mobile phone into prison.

Charles Blatchford, mitigating, said: "Mr Arif looked uncomfortable with the other man sitting next to him in hospital.

"At the moment the item was discovered Mr Arif confirmed that he was being exploited by others on the wing and was being bullied."

Mr Blatchford said a prison officer who regularly escorted Arif to hospital had provided a statement to the court in which he stated he believed other inmates had pressured him into committing the offence.

The barrister said the officer had stated how Arif's "prospects were not good" if he had not agreed to commit the offence and he could have been "hurt" on his return to prison.

It is thought the man who gave Arif the phone was a former Wealstun inmate.

Judge Rodney Jameson, QC, gave Arif a sentence of six months to deter other inmates from committing similar offences.

He told the defendant: "You must understand, and so must others, that immediate sentences will follow for this.

"If you are ever put under pressure again you must report this to the good officers of the prison service who are plainly looking out for you."