A woman who tried to smuggle drugs to a Canberra prisoner on his birthday was actually trying to head a jail-wide drug dealing operation, a prosecutor has told a court.
Lucinda Anne Bates, 48, was on Wednesday sentenced to six months' jail, which was fully suspended. She previously pleaded guilty to one charge of trafficking methamphetamine.
Magistrate Bernadette Boss said if it wasn't for Bates' health issues, she would be spending at least part of her sentence in the Alexander Maconochie Centre - the same place she tried to smuggle drugs into.
"[Methamphetamine] in particular has a reputation for damaging people's brains irreparably," Dr Boss said.
"It is highly addictive, which means that you are assisting someone to a life of misery."
The court heard Bates was searched by ACT police on September 26, 2019 as she tried to enter the prison as a visitor. Officers found about 7.4 grams of methamphetamine on her; some of which was contained in a small balloon and a "brown powder".
She was also carrying $1565 in cash.
Police initially alleged the drugs weighed 16 grams, but a laboratory test proved otherwise, the court heard. Methamphetamine can be trafficked at a threshold of 6 grams.
Bates' defence lawyer, Daryl Perkins, said her smuggling attempt was not a matter of drug addition, but of "helping a friend out".
"Her friend had asked her to bring him that drug into the centre, which she did," Mr Perkins said.
"She tells me she's getting a little too old for this sort of behaviour."
The prosecution disputed the claim, saying the amount of drugs Bates was carrying - along with the amount of cash - clearly meant the methamphetamine was not for her friend's personal use.
"She was attempting to facilitate the supply of drugs within a particularly vulnerable section of the community," the prosecutor said.
"[Bates would have been] essentially at the top of the [dealing] hierarchy.
"There was certainly some financial gain being offered."
The prosecutor said Bates' attempt to bring drugs into the Alexander Maconochie Centre undermined the "punitive and rehabilitative" purpose of jail.
Dr Boss said she was majorly concerned about Bates' attitude towards drugs. She said Bates' attempt at smuggling methamphetamine into the jail was an attempt at "perpetuating the drug addiction within the Alexander Maconochie Centre".
"Your role in the matter was as the sole supplier of this drug," she said. "It appears to have passed you by completely that this is an exceptionally serious matter."
She said drugs were a "blight on the community" and methamphetamine, in particular, promoted violence. "[That] has a knock-on effect not only to inmates but to prison staff," she said.
Dr Boss suspended Bates' six-month jail sentence on the condition she enter into a two-year good behaviour bond.
The order meant she would have to follow the directions of corrective services, and undergo counselling and drug and alcohol testing if required.