State lawyers acting against convicted criminal John Gilligan have told the High Court that inmates who lose prison privileges are not being subjected to a criminal penalty.
The 58-year-old is challenging a charge of possessing a mobile phone in Portlaoise prison in 2008 on the principle of double jeopardy..
He claims he has already been punished for the offence within the prison system and should not have to face a criminal trial
If convicted Mr Gilligan could serve a further five-year sentence for unlawfully having a mobile phone in prison on July 30, 2008.
He claims to have already suffered loss of privileges in the jail as a consequence and should not have to go through criminal proceedings in the district court which might result in further penalties...
Counsel for the State Paul Antony McDermott has argued in reply that the criminal justice system is entirely separate from the internal disciplinary proceedings at Portlaoise which are in place to ensure the prison runs smoothly.
He has asked the court to consider how anyone could claim that not being allowed going to the tuck shop is a criminal penalty.