Sunday 18 February 2018

Woman sent confidential data in error by Grant Thornton hands over USB sticks

Tim Healy

A WOMAN mistakenly sent confidential data about people unconnected with her by accountancy firm Grant Thornton has agreed before the High Court to hand over two USB computer sticks and a CD containing the information.

On the basis that Gerardine Scanlan complies with orders made on consent, the firm will not seek the legal costs of its application to the court for an injunction over the matter.

Ms Scanlan's contact with Grant Thornton arose over the appointment of one of its partners as receiver over some of her assets in 2013.

It claims she told it the data mistakenly sent to her last September includes deeds of appointment of receivers on properties of other borrowers not connected to her.

Ms Scanlan, Bruhenny, Churchtown, Mallow, Co Cork, had made clear she had been "interrogating" the information, the firm claimed.

Grant Thornton sought injunctions because it says she  repeatedly refused to confirm she would return the information, delete or destroy any copies held by her and not provide it to anyone else.

Last week, it obtained interim orders  including restraining her from disseminating the material.

In court earlier this week she denied disseminating the material.

Asked would she hand it back, she said her private information was on the disc.

When the matter returned to court Friday (Dec 4), Maurice Collins SC, for Grant Thornton, said following discussions it had been agreed a series of orders could be made on consent whereby a CD and two USB key sticks in her possession would be returned.

Ms Scanlan had confirmed some information, though she was not sure what, had been provided to an auctioneer in Athlone as well as some material to another man, counsel said.

As part of orders she was now consenting to, she agreed not to disseminate information to any other third parties pending determination of the full proceedings against her as well as not to process any data other than that relevant to herself.

She had said she had mislaid of number of other USB keys and was agreeing to hand over the lost keys if they turn up.

The order also directs her to remove any material in the public domain, including on social media, and to delete any residual material that might be attached to her email account.   She is also to take steps to retrieve the material given to the Athlone auctioneer.

Counsel said Grant Thornton was seeking costs against her as it believed the proceedings ought never to have been necessary.

However, it will not enforce a costs order if there is compliance with the agreed orders.

Ms Scanlan, representing herself, read from a brief replying affidavit she had sworn to the Grant Thornton proceedings but Mr Justice Gilligan told her events had overtaken the content of her statement.

Asked by the judge was she agreeable to the orders and to hand over the material, she said she was.

The judge told her the costs order only applies to the injunction proceedings.  If she chose to go any further with the case, it would not cover further hearings.

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