Saturday 3 December 2016

Teacher loses case over 'phone in bra strap' incident during jail security check

Published 31/07/2015 | 17:26

The teacher lost her security clearance and has not taught in the prison system since. 
The teacher lost her security clearance and has not taught in the prison system since. 

A TEACHER has lost her High Court action arising out of an incident in which a mobile phone was found in her bra strap as she went through a jail security check.

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Katherine Boyle was teaching at St Patrick's institution for young offenders in Dublin when the incident occurred as she was on her way into work on September 3, 2008 .

As a result, she lost her security clearance and has not taught in the prison system since. 

She sued the prison service and the State claiming that as a result of publicity about the incident, which she said was deliberately leaked by the prison service, her rights, including to privacy and fair procedures, had been breached. 

She claimed a newspaper article about the incident had distorted what had occurred.

The claims were denied.

Mr Justice Anthony Barr struck out her claim.

He was not satisfied the information which was supplied to a journalist who wrote the newspaper story "constituted confidential information, the disclosure of which would give rise to a claim in damages."

Even if he was wrong on that, he was satisfied "none of the defendants deliberately leaked or authorised the leak of this information to the journalist."

He was also not satisfied the leak could only have come from a prison officer.

"The leak could have come from a prison officer or from a member of staff in St Patrick's Institution or from a third party such as a prisoner who overheard conversations relating to the incident," the judge said.

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