Civil servant who hacked boss's phone walks free
Published 25/05/2013 | 05:00
A CIVIL servant who was found guilty of spying on her former supervisor by hacking into her mobile phone's voicemail messages has escaped punishment.
Dublin City Council employee Severine Doyle (39) had pleaded not guilty to 11 charges under the Postal and Telecommunication Act.
However, following a hearing last June, she was found guilty of intercepting voice messages on a phone used by Teresa Conlon, Dublin City Council's head of housing allocation.
Dublin District Court heard that Ms Conlon's voicemail messages had been intercepted over a five-week period, from January 8 until February 11, 2010.
Doyle's sentencing had been adjourned until yesterday. Judge Eamon O'Brien told defence solicitor Declan Fahy: "I will strike it out with liberty to re-enter. I am giving her a chance, the ball is in her court."
During the trial on June 28 last year, Ms Conlon told the judge she found out that some city councillors had said they had listened to tapes of messages left on her phone.
"A tape had been handed in by Cllr Mannix Flynn, with a message from my voicemail," she told the court, adding that she was "extremely upset."
She said Doyle had worked under her previously in a section dealing with medical-related housing-allocation requests.
Doyle, of Parnell Court, Crumlin, Dublin, was later transferred to the council's housing maintenance section.
Ms Conlon later learned that her voicemail had been intercepted by a caller using five different phones, including one belonging to Doyle's 72-year-old mother.
She agreed with state solicitor Tom Conlon that a complaint made by Doyle against her in relation to alleged inappropriate allocation of housing was never proven.
In cross-examination, defence solicitor Declan Fahy put it to Ms Conlon that she had previously made nuisance calls to Doyle. "Absolutely not," Ms Conlon said.
She said she phoned Doyle once after she learnt her messages had been intercepted and when she saw a list of phone numbers used to gain access to her voicemail.
In an interview with gardai, Doyle admitted accessing Ms Conlon's voicemail on 11 occasions but denied recording any of the messages.
When she gave evidence on June 28 last, she claimed she was unaware it was a crime to access messages left on another person's phone.
Doyle, who began working in the council in 2001, had said she did it to find the identity of a person she claimed had been making nuisance calls to her.