Defence criminal consultant jailed for speaking to prisoner on smuggled prison mobile phones
A criminal legal consultant who admitted to communicating with a prisoner on mobile phones that were smuggled into prison has been sentenced to 42 weeks in jail.
Law graduate Dene McClean, 37, communicated with prisoner Jonathan Gomez on seven illegal mobile phones on at least 544 instances while he was on remand awaiting trial for firearms offences at HMP Wormwood Scrubs. This amounted to more than 16 hours of communication and dozens of messages between the pair over a 12-month period. McClean was part of his defence team at the time.
In a WhatsApp message sent to Gomez’s girlfriend, McClean wrote: “Tell him to call me from prison phone, not the mobile tomorrow afternoon.”
McClean was sentenced to 42 weeks in custody today (Tuesday, 22 December) at Southwark Crown Court. He had previously pleaded guilty to one count of unauthorised transmission of a sound by electric communication from within a prison, and one count of unauthorised transmission of an image by electric communication from within a prison between 23 September 2016 to 28 September 2017.
Some of the calls and messages took place while Gomez was a sworn witness in his own trial at Harrow Crown Court in June 2017. This included 27 minutes worth of phone calls over three days while Gomez was in the course of giving evidence; and was explicitly warned by the judge that he was not allowed to communicate with his legal advisers during this time.
The offences were discovered when a mobile phone belonging to Gomez’s girlfriend was examined in connection to her boyfriend’s offending. This took place as part of a review by prosecutors into Gomez’s case following the collapse of this first trial.
After McClean’s arrest, Gomez was convicted of conspiracy to possess a firearm with intent to endanger life following a retrial. He was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment. He later went on to plead guilty to offences relating to communicating with McClean and was also sentenced today. He received nine months in addition to the 12 years he has been serving.
Robert Hutchinson, a Specialist Prosecutor from the CPS, said: “Dene McClean demonstrated a flagrant disregard for the integrity of the criminal justice system by repeatedly and deliberately flaunting the ban on communicating with prisoners on illegal mobile phones. The possession of these phones can lead to prisoners committing further offences or intimidating witnesses.
“McClean’s actions were criminal. As somebody working within the legal profession, he should have known better.
“The rules are clear in that legal professionals must use official routes to speak with their clients or they risk bringing the very core of the profession into disrepute.”
Notes to editors
- Dene McClean (DOB: 6/12/1983) is from Sunbury in the Borough of Spelthorne.
- A further count of unauthorised transmission of a sound by electric communication from within a prison, and a count of unauthorised transmission of an image by electric communication were left to lie on file.
- Robert Hutchinson is a Specialist Prosecutor within the Complex Casework Unit at CPS London South.