A solicitor who allowed her mobile phone to be used by a prisoner at The Midlands Prison in Portlaoise has been given a 12 month suspended jail sentence.

Joanne Kangley, 41, who had a legal practice in Bailieborough, Co Cavan, but now resides outside of Ireland, pleaded guilty to committing the offence while speaking to a prisoner, who was receiving medical attention at the Midland Regional Hospital, Portlaoise, on 6 November 2014.

She told Judge Keenan Johnson she had been threatened that her daughter would be raped by the prisoner and agreed to hand over her mobile phone under stress and anxiety.

The solicitor claimed the prisoner had demanded her phone and threatened to "fillet" her and that he had also referred to her "lovely daughter".

She said she took the SIM card out of her phone and threw it back on the prisoner’s bed.

She that within four days the prisoner told her he had seen pictures of her daughter and he was going to rape her if she did not provide him with a SIM card. 

On 10 November 2014 she bought the SIM card and delivered it to the prisoner while he was still in hospital.

She claimed he told her at that time he was planning to escape and the first thing he would do is "sort her out and look after her daughter".

The court was told the prisoner used the phone and threatened other people outside the prison while using it.

In February 2015, gardaí recovered the phone while interviewing the prisoner inside the prison.

The court was told Kangley was arrested on 30 July 2015 and admitted in her second interview with gardaí that she had supplied the phone under duress.

Passing sentence, Judge Johnson said that what had happened could do some good if it was used by the law society when educating solicitors in their duties and obligations to maintain a distance between themselves and their clients. 

He said it was clear Kangley was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder when she committed the offence and she was caught between a rock and a hard place in relation to her dealings with the prisoner who threatened her.

He said the crime she had committed represented a serious breach of trust as she was acting as an officer of the court but he said she had already lost her profession, her livelihood and reputation and the imposition of a custodial sentence would serve no useful purpose.

The court was told Kangley has moved to Spain and is a single mother with two children.