Justice officials are seeking a six-year prison sentence for a "corrupted employee" at Stony Mountain caught trying to smuggle drugs into the medium-security federal prison.
John Lightfoot, 59, appeared in court Wednesday to deal with trafficking charges stemming from his 2011 arrest. He is seeking a three-year penalty.
A sentencing decision will be handed down on Jan. 8. Lightfoot remains free on bail. He has no prior criminal record.
Lightfoot had worked at Stony for more than a decade as a mason instructor, helping inmates learn the craft, court was told.
The Crown called expert evidence Wednesday about the prevalence of prison drug-smuggling and the impact such offences has on inmates, many of whom are struggling with addictions as they try to rebuild their broken lives.
A recent report from Correctional Services of Canada estimated 80 per cent of inmates arrive at federal institutions with substance-abuse problems, creating a potentially lucrative market for drug dealers. RCMP and CSC say throwing bags, condoms or balloons full of drugs into Stony's prison yard is becoming increasingly common; more than a dozen such incidents have been reported in the past three years.
In Lightfoot's case, he was accused of trying to bring ecstasy, crystal meth and prescription pills into the facility. RCMP seized drugs, cash and other items from a vehicle parked outside the prison.
Defence lawyer John Corona told court his client was desperate for money to pay off extensive gambling debts. Lightfoot claims a mystery message was left on his desk, asking him if he wanted to make some quick cash. It told him to park his vehicle outside a Transcona-area restaurant where several packages were then put inside.
Lightfoot denies knowing what was in the shipment, a fact both the Crown and the judge questioned Wednesday. Lightfoot then "chickened out," his lawyer claims, and decided not to bring the packages into his workplace before he was caught.