Friday 23 June 2017

Private detective agency run by husband and wife accused of illegally obtaining information for clients

Accused of obtaining information from gardaí as well as a Government department

The Central Criminal Court
The Central Criminal Court

Tom Tuite

A private detective agency is facing trial accused of illegally obtaining private information from gardai as well as a Government department and passing it on to clients.

Private investigation firm Eamonn O Mordha & Co Ltd and two of its directors, husband and wife, Eamonn O Mordha (61) also known as Edward or Eddie Moore and Ann O Mordha (60) also known as Ann Moore each face 37 counts of breaching the Data Protection Act.

They are based at Limetree Avenue, in Portmarnock, Co. Dublin and are accused of disclosing unlawfully obtained information on more than 30 named people to insurance firms in 2015 and 2016.

The case had its first listing at Dublin District Court on Monday when prosecution solicitor Clare McQuillan told Judge John Brennan it was alleged that information was obtained without consent of the data controller, An Garda Siochana and Department of Social Protection.

It was a situation where the defendant company is a private investigation firm and the information was allegedly “passed on” to insurance companies, she said.

The firm had been carrying out surveillance and background checks on people taking personal injuries claims, Judge Brennan was told.

Mr and Mrs O Mordha are directors of the private investigation company and they are charged under Section 29 of the Data Protection Act with obtaining and passing on the information by connivance or negligence, Ms McQuillan said. The company is being prosecuted under Section 22 of the Act, she said.

They have not yet indicated how they will plead.

Defence counsel Brian Gageby applied for an adjournment for four weeks when it will be indicated if they are pleading guilty or seeking a date for a hearing. Counsel said he received “a bundle of disclosure” last week and needed an opportunity to go through the material.

Judge Brennan thanked the prosecution solicitor for giving the background to the case and he granted a four-week adjournment.

The prosecution has been brought by the office of the Data Protection Commissioner and each defendant faces the same allegation.

They will have to say how they will plead at their next hearing, the judge ordered.

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