Solicitor gave phone to convicted rapist after he threatened to rape her child

Former Cavan solicitor now living abroad after business folded

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A former solicitor gave a mobile phone to a convicted rapist serving a sentence in Portlaoise Prison after he made threats against her family, including a threat to “fillet” her and rape her child.

Today’s (Tuesday, April 2) sitting of Portlaoise Circuit Court heard that Joanne Kangley (41), formerly of Bailieborough, Co Cavan, but now residing outside of Ireland, also bought a SIM card for the phone and topped it up for the prisoner, after giving him the phone during a visit at Portlaoise hospital.

The accused pleaded guilty to supplying a mobile phone to an inmate of Portlaoise Prison on November 6, 2014.

Evidence was given by State barrister, Mr Sean Gillane SC, along with Detective Garda Daniel Treacy, of Dun Laoghaire Garda Station, that in November, 2014, the accused was acting as solicitor to a prisoner serving a sentence in Portlaoise Prison for rape and false imprisonment.

Ms Kangley, who was a practicing solicitor since 2004, had not represented him in the rape case, but was representing him by 2014.

On November 6, 2014, the prisoner was transferred to the Midlands Regional Hospital in Portlaoise where he was put in a room in a supervised capacity, with prison officers in attendance.

Ms Kangley attended at the hospital for a private visit with him while the prison officers waited outside.

On February 10, 2015, the prisoner spoke to an assistant chief officer at the prison, informing him that he had a mobile phone hidden up his rectum. The prisoner said he had been given the phone by his solicitor in hospital, with Ms Kangley removing the SIM card first.

The phone contained private material relating to the accused’s family and the prisoner used the phone to make threats against certain individuals. The prisoner also said that the accused had topped up the phone for him.

He refused to give the phone to prison staff, saying he would only give it to the gardaí.

The prisoner told a prison officer that he wanted to “shaft his solicitor”.

When the phone was eventually recovered by the authorities, it was found that the prisoner had used it for online searches relating to his former solicitor and the victim of his rape and false imprisonment conviction. He also used the phone to leave threatening messages with persons associated with this case. The phone was also used to make regular contact with a number belonging to Ms Kangley.

The phone was being used with a SIM card that was bought in Navan on November 10, 2014.

When arrested and questioned, Ms Kangley told gardaí that the prisoner had threatened her and her family.

The court heard that the prisoner threatened to fillet Ms Kangley and rape her child and so she gave him her work phone for her own protection.

Ms Kangley told the gardaí that during visits with him he would drop in bits of information about her, or her family, and there was fear on her part. She said he had asked her for phones before and she said no, which had angered him.

On this occasion, he asked her for a phone and she said no. To this, the prisoner told her to remember what he was serving a sentence for and then mentioned her child, so she handed the phone over.

She also admitted buying him the SIM card and topping up the phone.

She said that the prisoner told her if she did not take his case he would tell everyone about the phone and ruin her.

Ms Kangley has now moved abroad. She has no previous convictions.

Defence for the accused, Mr Paul Greene SC said that Ms Kangley was not unique in being the target of threats from the prisoner, to which Det Treacy confirmed this was correct.

Mr Greene said Ms Kangley had since lost her business and was now living abroad with her children, trying to set up a new business.

Defence handed in a number of testimonials relating to the character of the accused. Mr Greene described her as a woman of good character who fell into a situation where she was manipulated.

Judge Keenan Johnson said this was a serious and unusual case and he wanted time to consider the matter.

Sentencing was adjourned to this Friday, April 5.