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Prisoner using phone 'to check on his baby'

A YOUNG father caught with a mobile phone in his prison cell during a routine search was using it to call his girlfriend and his new baby, a court heard.

Craig McCarthy (23) was also checking on the welfare of his 16-month-old baby, as he has spent most of the first year of the child's life in prison.

A judge sentenced McCarthy to two months in prison.

The defendant, with an address at Rossfield Park in Tallaght, admitted before Dublin District Court to possession of a mobile phone in his cell at Mountjoy Prison. The incident took place on March 7 this year.

Garda Suzanne Carlos told the court a mobile phone was found in McCarthy's cell during a routine search.

The court heard McCarthy had more than 92 previous convictions, most of them for road traffic matters. He is serving a sentence and not due for release until September 2011.

The defence lawyer said the mobile phone did not belong to McCarthy, but to another man who was sharing his prison cell.

The court heard McCarthy had the phone and was using it to call his girlfriend.

The lawyer said the defendant has a long history of drug abuse but is now clean and has been based in the training unit at Mountjoy since May.

The court also heard that McCarthy wants to leave Dublin when he is released, and start a new life in Co Kildare with his girlfriend and child.

Judge John O'Neill said McCarthy had admitted to the offence at the earliest possible date. He imposed a two-month sentence to begin immediately.

hnews@herald.ie