Tuesday 19 November 2019

Jury begins deliberations in trial of detective accused of harassing solicitor with letters and emails

Eve Doherty. Pic Collins Courts.
Eve Doherty. Pic Collins Courts.

Declan Brennan

A jury will resume deliberations tomorrow in the trial of a garda detective accused of harassing a State solicitor by sending her letters and emails.

Eve Doherty (49), a detective sergeant based in Dublin, denies harassing Elizabeth Howlin between September 2011 and March 2013 and making false statements on two dates in March 2013 claiming Ms Howlin was perverting the course of justice.

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

Over an 18 month period letters and emails were sent to Ms Howlin's home, her place of work and to her GP calling her a “corrupt bitch” and an “incompetent useless hobbit”.

The material, which included A4 posters left around her housing estate, falsely claimed that Ms Howlin was a political appointee and that she would “pull” files to prevent the prosecution of anyone connected to her or the Government. Ms Howlin is a distant cousin of the TD Brendan Howlin.

On day 15 Judge Melanie Greally charged the jury on the law before sending it out to begin deliberations.

After just under two hours of deliberations Judge Greally sent the jury home for the evening and asked the jurors to return to court tomorrow.

She repeated a daily warning to the jurors not to discuss the case with anybody outside the jury or to look for advice. She told them not to reach any definitive conclusions about the evidence outside of the jury room.

She said at this stage they might be tempted to look for information on the Internet to aid their deliberations but they should not do this.

Judge Greally told the jury that to base a decision on any information other than the evidence in the trial would be to “dishonour the oath you have taken”.

She said to convict the accused they must find that the prosecution had proved it's case beyond reasonable doubt.

She said this was not a whimsical or irrational doubt. She said it must be based on a reasonable view of the evidence.

“If you have some lurking or lingering doubt or if you consider some other evidence should be available to you, then you have a reasonable doubt,” Judge Greally said.

During a summary of the evidence she told the jury that the email of September 28, 2013 which Sgt Doherty has admitted sending did not contain any direct references to Ms Howlin.

She said it was the technical evidence of Garda Sarah Skeed that provided an alleged link between that email and the other emails.

She told the jury that there was no DNA evidence linking the accused directly to the material sent. She said that Sgt Doherty's DNA was found on latex gloves found in her home.

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