Three other people have been reported for potential prosecution linked to a prison drug smuggling plot

Stephen Brian Martin at an earlier hearing

THREE other people have been reported for potential prosecution in offences linked to a prison drug smuggling plot, a court heard today.

The revelation came at Lisburn Magistrates Court where former prison officer Stephen Brian Martin (24) appeared via videolink.

Martin, from Co Antrim, is in custody in Magilligan Prison facing 16 offences relating to the alleged possession and supply of class A, B and C drugs and misconduct in public office, all alleged to have been committed last August.

Objecting to the bail application a detective constable told the court police feared that if freed, Martin would re-offend.

“Our concerns are that we feel he has been operating as part of a larger criminal enterprise and has been for a period of years,” said the officer adding that can examination of Martin’s mobile phone suggested he started selling drugs in 2014 and that by 2016, "he appears to have people working for him, selling cocaine on his behalf.”

The offences on the indictment arise from when Martin was searched when he arrived for work as a prison officer at the maximum security Maghaberry Prison in Co Antrim. A quantity of cannabis, lyrica and diazepam was found in his boot.

A search of his home uncovered further drugs and a mobile phone “about the size of a thumb” which police believe were all to be smuggled into the jail, said the police officer.

He told that enquiries showed Martin’s phone had been in contact with a prisoner’s mother who in turn, had been recorded speaking to her son and in cross examination from defence lawyer Peter Coiley, confirmed that three other suspects have been questioned over conspiracy to supply drugs with files submitted to the PPS for potential prosecution.

Mr Coiley argued there had been delay in progressing the case and that Martin could be freed with a cash surety and numerous conditions but the officer maintained there were no conditions which would assuage all the police concerns.

Refusing bail, District Judge John Ranaghan said he did not accept the delay point, highlighting that it’s a complicated and extensive police investigation.

Martin is to appear again in two weeks.

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