Drug Importer’s Jail Cell Hell

Ava Benny-Morrison |  19th July 2012 6:00 AM | Sunshine Coast Daily

EXPOSED to beatings, sexual assault and threats while cramped in a third world jail cell with eight other prisoners, Stephen Ploderer was living a nightmare.

The 37-year-old was a world away from his Sunshine Coast home waiting to be returned to Australia to face drug importation charges.

Ploderer was arrested in Malaysia in 2010 after Australian police discovered his attempt to import almost 1kg of amphetamine from the Netherlands through the post.

The former commercial diver and Fraser Island oyster farmer pleaded guilty in Brisbane Supreme Court this week to importing and possessing a marketable quantity of a drug.

Justice Peter Applegarth said the cruel treatment Ploderer faced in a “notorious” Malaysian prison could be considered a form of punishment already served.

He sentenced Ploderer to six-and-a-half years in jail.

The court heard Ploderer left Australia in 2008 and was arrested in March, 2010, when a passport officer detected him.

Defence lawyer Bill Potts said his client did not know he was being investigated when he went overseas.

Ploderer awaited extradition in Sungai Buloh prison, an experience that led him into the grips of a post-traumatic stress disorder.

Mr Potts said Ploderer spent three months in a cell with eight other people and endured torture, sexual assault and threats of being caned with a rattan stick dipped in acid.

“Three people died in his cell block while he was there,” Mr Potts said.

Ploderer shared a water bucket with HIV positive prisoners and returned to Australia with scabies and fungal infections.

Crown prosecutor Glen Rice said Customs officials detected a package with 987g of impure amphetamine at a mail centre in Sydney in December, 2007.

Father and son, David Geoffrey Wright and Craig Anthony Wright, also were jailed recently for their roles in the Sunshine Coast delivery.

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