Sacked garda who passed on private data avoids jail term
A SACKED garda who passed on confidential information and illegally held a single barrel shot gun in his home has been ordered to carry out community service in lieu of a jail term.
Daniel Tarrant (51) personally and indirectly accessed confidential data on the garda system to give to retail security firms who were clients of his partner.
Detective Sergeant Tommy Murphy said that the garda's motivation had been to help his partner preserve a good business relationship with the firms, as she had no licence to provide security services.
Tarrant (51), with an address at Doon, Kiskeam, Mallow, Co Cork, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to three charges of disclosing personal data without the prior authority of the Data Controller between December 23, 2008 and July 16, 2009.
He also pleaded guilty to illegally possessing a single barrel shotgun on October 9, 2009, at Cluain Ri, Ashbourne, Co Meath.
Judge Mary Ellen Ring noted a probation report before the court had assessed Tarrant as being suitable for community service.
She ordered that he carry out 200 hours in lieu of two years in prison and gave him 12 months to complete that.
Judge Ring noted that under the Data Protection Act, only monetary penalties are available to the court.
She ordered that Tarrant pay over €1,000 to be divided amongst St Vincent de Paul, The Capuchin Day Centre and The Father Peter McVerry Trust.
Gardai began investigating Tarrant's mobile phone records after a tip-off from the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation in November 2011 about data protection breaches.
The detective said Tarrant, who had been stationed at Finglas garda station, was dismissed after 27 years in the force following the investigation.
The information he accessed from PULSE records related to a security firm's business competitor on one occasion and on another it was personal details of a known shoplifter.
Tarrant admitted that he had accessed the records personally and by asking colleagues.
Dominic McGinn SC, defending, said his client acted out of "misguided loyalty" to his partner and asked Judge Ring to recognise that Tarrant had already been punished through losing his career and good character.
Judge Ring said that "if we all had access to the PULSE system there would be total disruption in the community".