News Courts

Thursday 2 October 2014

Private investigator to be tried on allegations of data-law breaches

Tom Tuite

Published 22/07/2014 | 02:30

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The landmark case is believed to be the first of its kind to be taken against a private investigator
The landmark case is believed to be the first of its kind to be taken against a private investigator
Michael J Gaynor will face trial in October. Photo: Collins

A PRIVATE investigator accused of unlawfully obtaining and passing on private information gardai had on three people will go on trial in October.

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Michael J Gaynor, trading as MJG Investigations, from Beatty Grove, Celbridge, Co Kildare, is being prosecuted at the Dublin District Court following an investigation by the office of the Data Protection Commissioner.

The landmark case is believed to be the first of its kind to be taken against a private investigator.

He is facing 72 counts of breaking the Data Protection Act, from May until October last year.

Mr Gaynor is accused of three counts of unlawfully obtaining access to personal information held by An Garda Siochana relating to three individuals, and it is alleged that he disclosed the data to others.

He is also facing nine charges that, without authorisation, he got facts on nine other people; in these instances the data controller was the Electricity Supply Board. It is also alleged this information was passed on to others.

Together the 12 counts that relate to alleged unlawful obtaining of personal data and disclosing it to others comes under Section 22(1) of the Data Protection Act, 1988 and 2003.

In the remaining 60 charges it is alleged he processed information without authorisation on several people in circumstances where he was not recorded in the register established and maintained under the Data Protection Act.

Last month the case had been adjourned to give the accused time to consider how he would plead to the charges.

Yesterday defence counsel Justin McQuade told Judge John O'Neill, "the issues of have been considerably narrowed", his client was would be contesting three of the 72 charges and a "date for hearing" was required.

Prosecution solicitor Sophie More-O'Ferrall consented to the non-jury district court trial being heard on October 6 next.

Mr Gaynor did not address the court during the proceedings yesterday and the remaining 69 charges that he will not contest will also be dealt with on the hearing date.

Assistant Data Protection Commissioner Tony Delaney was present as the defence indicated how they would be pleading, however, the court has not yet started hearing evidence in relation to the allegations.

Irish Independent

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