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Prison Lawyer Smuggled Cell Phones In Shoes

His replacement will have big shoes to fill…

TWO Leytonstone men have been convicted of plotting to smuggle drugs and mobile phones into a prison.

Pentonville inmate Desmond Brown, 26, formerly of Montague Road, and his friend on the outside, Calvin Chance, 26, of Birch Grove, conspired with a corrupt solicitor to avoid detection.

They were also helped by Brown’s 24-year-old girlfriend Danielle Porter, of Barking, and another prisoner, David Sterling.

It is thought the group made nearly £20,000 dealing the items on the prison black market.

Blackfriars Crown Court heard how the plot was uncovered when solicitor Ritesh Brahmbhatt, 30, was searched during a visit to Sterling in September 2009.

He aroused suspicion when he was spotted wearing shoes which were several sizes too big for him.

Prison guards then discovered his footwear stuffed with of cannabis, mephedrone, and mobile phone parts. Drugs were also found in his trousers.

Similar items had previously been discovered during searches of Brown’s cells.

Brahmbhatt claimed he had been threatened at gunpoint a few days before by a man who demanded he smuggle the items.

But Islington Police uncovered a series of incriminating text messages and financial transactions linking Brahmbhatt with the prisoners.

A further link was established when Porter’s DNA was found on a mobile phone recovered during a search of the solicitor’s prison locker.

Brahmbhatt was again arrested while on bail when he was caught with a mobile phone during a visit to a prisoner in Winchester, Hampshire, in February this year.

The solicitor, of Wanstead Park Road in Redbridge, was the only one of the group to plead guilty to charges of conspiracy to smuggle items into a prison.

Detective Sergeant Simon Lowe said: “I thank the jury for their careful consideration and I hope that these verdicts act as a deterrent to others considering committing crimes like this.”

Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) lawyer Robert Hutchinson, said: “A painstaking investigation by police and a robust prosecution by the CPS meant that Brahmbhatt was today convicted alongside the very same individuals he once represented.”

All five have been remanded in custody and will be sentenced later this year at a date not set.