A serial crook – once dubbed a “poster boy for soft justice” – claims he had a phone behind bars at Perth Prison to complain to his mum about his treatment by staff.
Del Banks was caught with the contraband device after he fell ill in his cell at HMP Perth last year.
The 32-year-old, who has racked up more than 35 convictions, appeared at the city’s sheriff court on Wednesday and was sent back to jail for 80 days.
High dependency unit
The court heard that jail staff became concerned about Banks’ behaviour at around 4.30pm on June 25, last year.
While he was being checked over by health care workers, a search of his cell was carried out.
Officers saw Banks lift up his T-shirt and drop a small black mobile phone into a bin.
Solicitor Linda Clark said the phone did not belong to her client.
“I understand from Mr Banks that he had been unwell for some four or five days,” she said. “That resulted in him self-medicating. His mother is a nurse and he borrowed the phone to complain to his mum about the lack of attention he was receiving within the prison service.
“Because of his concerns, he was examined and he was admitted to Perth Royal Infirmary where he was diagnosed with pneumonia.”
Banks, who is from Perth, spent four days in a high dependency for four days, before being discharged back to jail.
Ms Clark said: “He had complained on numerous occasions that he was unwell, and he felt he was more unwell than staff were giving him credit for.
“He managed to get the phone with a view to phoning his mother.”
Since his release from jail earlier this year, he has moved in with his new partner and found employment.
“He is now drug free,” said Ms Clark.
Sheriff Neil Bowie told Banks: “Given the nature of the offence, a custodial sentence was always highly likely.
“And given your record of previous convictions, there is no alternative in my view.”
A Scottish Prison Service spokesman declined to comment directly, but pointed out that since the pandemic impacted on visiting arrangements, inmates had been given phones to keep in touch with family.
The case was adjourned last month after Banks tested positive for coronavirus.
Blacked Eyed Peas controversy
As a teenager, Banks was controversially taken to a Black Eyed Peas Concert in an effort to curb his offending.
But his continued offending attracted anger from Tory justice spokesman Liam Kerr.
In 2018, when Banks was jailed for the 25th time – for stealing DVDs from Morrison’s just two days after being released from prison – Mr Kerr told the Daily Mail: “This is the epitome of the SNP’s soft touch justice and demonstrates exactly why it doesn’t work.”
Banks was previously jailed for 22 months in January 2020, for assaulting his ex-girlfriend as she lay helpless on the ground.
It is understood this was the 27th time he was sent to prison.