Sunday 25 February 2018

Detective is jailed for campaign of abuse against DPP solicitor

Stock picture: Getty
Stock picture: Getty

Declan Brennan

A detective found guilty of harassing a State solicitor by sending her abusive letters has been jailed for three years.

Judge Melanie Greally said that while Eve Doherty (50) is considered at low risk of re-offending she maintains her innocence and has shown no remorse for the crimes.

Doherty, of Blackglen Road, Sandyford, Dublin, was found guilty by a jury at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court of harassing Elizabeth Howlin between September 2011 and March 2013 following a two-week trial last July.

At the time, Ms Howlin worked with the Director of Public Prosecutions where she was involved in deciding whether or not to direct prosecutions in criminal cases.

Doherty held the position of detective sergeant and worked in the crime and security division of An Garda Síochána.

The trial heard that letters and emails were sent to Ms Howlin's home, her place of work and her GP calling her a "corrupt b***h" and an "incompetent useless hobbit".

The court heard that Doherty was then in a relationship with the victim's ex-partner. Judge Greally said the communications by Doherty contained outright and scurrilous lies and statements which were disparaging, insulting and offensive.

A medical report stated that she suffers from paranoia, suicidal ideation [thoughts] and a decline in her cognitive functioning. The court heard that she believes the evidence in the trial was fabricated by gardaí to frame her.

Anonymous

Prosecutor Kerida Naidoo said Doherty used anonymous email accounts to send messages from a Dublin city centre internet cafe to hundreds of recipients. Following a Garda investigation, gardaí tracked down the internet cafe.

Doherty was arrested after sending an anonymous email from the cafe while wearing sunglasses and a wig. As well as letters and emails, Doherty dispensed leaflets around Ms Howlin's housing estate, falsely claiming that Ms Howlin was a political appointee and would "pull" files to prevent the prosecution of anyone connected to her or the Government.

Doherty was suspended from her job but is still a serving garda. After her arrest, she spent a month in St John of God psychiatric hospital.

Her lawyer, Michael O'Higgins, told the court she had a difficult work environment with some "fractious" relationships. Judge Greally rejected a defence submission to impose a suspended sentence, noting the lack of a guilty plea and any evident remorse.

Irish Independent

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