Corrective Services employee from Mount Annan pleads guilty to relationship with inmate

A correctional centre employee from Mount Annan has admitted to engaging in a relationship with an inmate and causing a safety risk at the facility.

Colin John Kelleher, 34, of Farrendon Place in Mount Annan, pleaded guilty to the charge at Moss Vale court on Tuesday.

Court papers said, as a part of his duties, Mr Kelleher supervised several female inmates deemed suitable to work in the external grounds of the correctional centre and off-complex in the community.

As only a select group of inmates are deemed suitable to work outside the centre, Mr Kelleher had greater face-to-face contact with inmates than regular officers.

On November 9, 2018, Kim Quach was transferred to Berrima Correctional Centre and met Mr Kelleher a few days later.

During this meeting, Mr Kelleher provided Ms Quach with an induction into the Industries Unit.

From early February until late March 2019, Mr Kelleher and Ms Quach worked alongside each other in both the technology and external ground maintenance sections of the Industries at the jail.

It was during this time that the relationship between Mr Kelleher and Ms Quach progressed into a romantic relationship that transgressed the professional inmate and correctional officer boundary.

This relationship was developed through the writing of several anonymous letters between Mr Kelleher and Ms Quach.

During a routine contraband search of the external ground maintenance shed on March 19, 2019, officers located six letters that were folded together in a small parcel.

The letters were seized and secured in the safe belonging of the manager of security of Berrima Correctional Centre.

Upon review of the letters it became apparent that they not only contained evidence of an intimate/romantic relationship but evidence Mr Kelleher had provided information on how to manipulate the system to reduce her level of classification within the jail.

Court documents said this risked the safety and security of the correctional centre.

On April 9, 2019, police from the corrective services investigation unit attended the correctional centre and took custody of the letters.

On May 23, 2019, the six letters obtained were forensically examined. Both DNA and fingerprints were recovered from the letters.

On June 7, 2019, investigators from the corrective services investigation unit attended the address of Mr Kelleher, where he was cautioned and placed under arrest.

The former overseer took part in an interview with police in Narellan, where he made full admissions to writing and receiving letters as well as pursuing a romantic relationship with Quach.

Mr Kelleher has been employed by Corrective Services NSW as an overseer since May 2016.

He will return to Moss Vale Local Court for sentencing on August 20.