Wednesday 21 March 2018

Navy sailor admits to passing on 'sensitive' information

Patricia McDonagh

A SAILOR yesterday pleaded guilty to leaking sensitive information about the location of a naval patrol ship.

Able Seaman Eoin Gray (24) pleaded guilty to disclosing information without authority about the operation of state ships at sea between December 4 and 14, 2008.

Gray, who serves with the LE Orla, had initially pleaded not guilty to the charge, which was one of five laid against him.

The four remaining charges -- of aiding drug traffickers and possessing cocaine -- were then dropped by prosecution for the Defence Forces.

The allegations were unearthed during "regularly conducted security checks" by naval command.

The Director of Military Prosecutions (DMP) directed a limited court martial to take place after a military police inquiry.

At a courts marital hearing at McKee Barracks in Dublin yesterday Mr Gray pleaded guilty to "knowingly and without due authority, disclosing information of the information of state ships at sea".

He had pleaded not guilty to the charge, but was granted time to change his plea by military judge Colonel Anthony McCourt.

Outlining the facts of the charge, prosecuting counsel Commander Patrick Burke for the Defence Forces, said Gray had contacted a colleague in the operations room of the fisheries monitoring centre at Haulbowline in Cork Harbour, on a number of occasions.

"He had wanted to find out what was going on operationally and wanted to know the exact location and status of his ship, the LE Orla," he said.

"He wanted to find out if he would be free for the weekend because he wanted to go home. He then texted this information to his girlfriend."

Commander Burke said he accepted Mr Gray's guilty plea and did not wish to proceed with the other charges.

Gray had been accused of two charges of conspiring to help unknown persons import cocaine between December 4 and 14, 2008, and possession of cocaine at an unknown date.


A charge of being in possession of counterfeit hair straighteners at Lower Glanmire Road, Cork, on December 15, 2008 was also laid against him.

Lieutenant Commander Colm McGinley, administrator for the Naval Service, told the court that Gray was previously fined €50 and given a 15-day shore leave stop on May 28, 2007 after he took absence without leave for five hours.

Gray, who began his service in the Navy on June 12, 2006, has a two-year old daughter.

He is in receipt of legal aid. Judge Col Tony McCourt will hear character witnesses for the defendant tomorrow and will sentence him.

Irish Independent

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