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Cell service Prisoners illegally using mobile phones in jail a 'scourge', judge says

He was commenting in the case of a prisoner who said he had a phone to contact his family and nothing 'sinister'

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Prison inmates illegally using mobile phones in jail has become a "scourge", a judge has said.

Judge David McHugh said the phones were contrary to good order in prisons and having them was "completely unacceptable".

He was commenting in the case of a prisoner who said he had a phone to contact his family and nothing "sinister".

Luke Healy (20) was given an extra one month of jail time.

Healy, of St Brendan's Court, Loughrea, Co Galway, pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of a mobile phone in Dublin's Wheatfield Prison.

A garda told Blanchardstown District Court the accused went through a metal detector at the prison last April 2 and handed over a phone to officers.

There "wasn't anything sinister" in it and the accused had the phone to ring family members, his lawyer said. He was currently serving a two-year sentence for criminal damage, the court heard.

He was already punished for the phone offence within the prison system by being without privileges for 40 days.

Judge McHugh told the court that having phones in custody was "contrary to good order" in prisons and was a "scourge that is with us".

Accused frequently said they were only phoning their family and the judge said he did not accept "that is in any way legitimate".

A lot of similar cases had come before the court and it was "completely unacceptable", he added.

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