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Husband and wife in private eye firm face trial over data sent to insurers

A private detective agency is facing trial accused of illegally obtaining private information from gardaí 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 each face 37 counts of breaching the Data Protection Act.

The directors are husband and wife Eamonn O Mordha (61), also known as Edward or Eddie Moore, and Ann O Mordha (60), also known as Ann Moore.

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

Prosecution solicitor Clare McQuillan told Judge John Brennan it was alleged that information was obtained without consent of the data controller, An Garda Síochána or the Department of Social Protection.

It is 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 were 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 was 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. Counsel said he received "a bundle of disclosure" last week and needed an opportunity to go through the material.

Judge Brennan granted a four-week adjournment at Dublin District Court. They would have to say how they would plead at the next hearing, the judge ordered. The prosecution was brought by the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner.

Irish Independent