A career criminal, once dubbed a “poster boy for soft justice”, has been caught with a mobile phone at Perth Prison.
Del Banks, who was once controversially taken to a Black Eyed Peas gig in an attempt to curb his offending, was found with the device while serving time for a “cowardly” assault on his former partner.
The 32-year-old now faces extra time behind bars.
But Banks – listed on a court papers as a prisoner in HMP Perth – was unable to attend Perth Sheriff Court for sentencing on Wednesday, after he tested positive for coronavirus.
The jail is currently tackling an outbreak, which has forced some staff and inmates into isolation for 10 days.
Solicitor Linda Clark told the court: “He contacted my offices to advice that he has tested positive.
“He was asked to undertake a proper test and I have confirmation this morning that he has indeed, tested positive.”
Sentence was deferred until July 28.
Where is the love?
Banks was embroiled in a row over “soft justice” when in 2004, aged 15, he was taken by social workers to Manchester to see a concert by Will.I.Am-fronted hip hop group The Black Eyed Peas.
At the time, Perth and Kinross Council said the taxpayer-funded trip would help curb his out-of-control behaviour.
Since then, he has racked up more than 35 convictions, covering nearly 70 offences.
He was 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.
The court heard that after the assault in St Catherine’s Court on September 1, 2019, Banks was traced by police and found to be carrying a knuckleduster.
He was subject to two bail orders at the time.
Sheriff William Wood told Banks: “You are well recognised as a violent criminal.
“To use the vernacular, you waded in with both feet and hands, kicking and punching her to the head.”
Banks was caught with the mobile phone at HMP Perth on June 25, 2020, around six months into his sentence.
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.”
It has been estimated that police, court, social work and prison costs of dealing with Banks’ criminal lifestyle –along with state-funded methadone – have cost the public purse almost £500,000.