3 jailed, prison drug business run with smuggled phone
AN INMATE serving a life sentence directed drug deals using a mobile phone smuggled into jail.
Brett Randall Griffith, one of three people sentenced on Friday, would have been eligible for parole in October.
But his drug-dealing exploits at Maryborough Correctional Centre mean he will stay in prison until 2020.
He had "a substantial network of associates who bought and sold drugs," Justice Helen Bowskill said.
Two associates - Sydney supplier Ronnie Refalo and Fraser Coast syndicate "administrator" Annette Low - were also given prison terms in Brisbane Supreme Court.
Justice Bowskill said Low's case was a tragedy.
She had been "somebody genuinely contributing to the community" before her involvement with the drug ice.
Low was previously diagnosed with cancer, and at one point lived "expecting each day to be her last," the judge said.
Refalo, extradited from New South Wales, had spent much of his adult life behind bars, and the court heard he regretted wasting many years.
Police in 2015 said Refalo was a Lone Wolf bikie group member, and the business with Griffith was one of three related jail syndicates, with another in Maryborough and a third in Ipswich.
Another man had earlier been jailed in relation to the syndicate.
Refalo was initially accused of being a ringleader after police with Queensland's Taskforce Maxima and NSW's Strike Force Raptor busted the business.
But the supreme court took a different view.
Justice Bowskill was persuaded Griffith played a leading role in the syndicate.
A phone smuggled into jail was integral to the drug network.
"There's little point me lecturing you about the seriousness of your crimes," the judge told Griffith.
Ice was "a vile and insidious" drug which ravaged the community, she said.
Griffith was serving a life sentence at Maryborough for attempted murder and was jailed in November 2002.
He was given a further seven years and six months and can apply for parole in April 2020.
Refalo was sentenced to five years and eight months in jail.
He received credit for 246 days already served in custody and can apply for parole on September 17, 2018.
Low gained little from the offending, the court heard.
She was given four years jail. But her poor health and the fact supporters supplied positive testimonials which impressed the judge mean her sentence will be suspended after six months.