| 17.9°C Dublin

Prisoner regrets mobile phone in pocket after five months in solitary

A prisoner caught with a mobile phone in a high-security prison has said he deeply regrets having the phone after spending the past five months in solitary confinement.

Limerick man John Dundon (30) was caught with the mobile phone in his pocket while he was serving a sentence in Wheatfield Prison.

The father-of-two has since been transferred to another prison. A judge sentenced Dundon to six months in prison suspended for two years.

The defendant, of Hyde Road, Ballinacurra Weston, Limerick, admitted before Blanchardstown District Court to possession of a mobile phone without the permission of the prison governor, contrary to Section 36 of the Prisons Act.

Garda Stephen Cullen said the incident took place at Wheatfield Prison, Cloverhill Road, Dublin 22 on April 12 last.

Gda Cullen said Dundon was routinely searched and a mobile was found in his pocket. It was not being used at the time.

The court heard the defendant has 37 previous convictions, mostly for road traffic matters. He received a four-and-a-half-year sentence in 2005 after he threatened the life of the chief State witness during the high-profile trial of the killers of Limerick crime boss Kieran Keane.

His lawyer told the court that Dundon is originally from Limerick, and has a long-term partner and two children, of one which is a newborn.

The lawyer said that Dundon realises it was foolish to have the mobile phone. He has learnt a salutary lesson from his behaviour as he has spent the past five months in solitary confinement, and still remains outside the general prison population.

Judge Anthony Halpin said the matter was very serious, and the mobile could have been used to do other things outside the prison.

The judge sentenced Dundon to six months in prison but suspended it for two years. He told Dundon he had been treated "very fairly" for what was an extremely serious offence.