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Civil servant for sentencing over hacking boss's phone

A CIVIL servant who was found guilty of hacking into voice-mail messages left on her former supervisor's work phone is to be sentenced in May.

Dublin City Council employee Severine Doyle (39) had pleaded not guilty to 11 charges under the Postal and Telecommunication Act. However, following a hearing last June she had been found guilty of intercepting voice messages on a mobile phone used by Teresa Conlon, Dublin City Council's head of housing allocation.

Dublin District Court heard that Ms Conlon's voicemail messages had been intercepted over a five-week period, from January 8 until February 11, 2010.

The District Court ordered that Doyle's sentence hearing will take place on May 24 next when the case will be listed before Judge Eamon O'Brien, who had heard the evidence and had found her guilty.

During the trial on June 28 last, Ms Conlon had told Judge O'Brien that she found out that some city councillors had said they had listened to tapes of messages that had been left on her phone.

"A tape had been handed in by councillor Mannix Flynn, with a message from my voice-mail," she had told the court.

She had said Doyle, who is on bail, had worked under her previously in a section dealing with medical-related housing allocation requests. Doyle, of Parnell Court, Crumlin, Dublin, was later transferred to the council's housing maintenance section.


She later learned her voicemail had been intercepted by a caller using five different phones, including one belonging to Doyle's 72-year-old mother, as well as a landline and a payphone.

She had agreed with State solicitor Tom Conlon that there had been a grievance procedure in relation to Doyle. A complaint made by Doyle against her in relation to inappropriate allocation of housing was never proven.

In cross-examination, defence solicitor Declan Fahy had put it to Ms Conlon that she had previously made nuisance calls to Doyle. This, he suggested, came following a report in the Sunday Tribune newspaper which made claims of inappropriate allocation of housing. "Absolutely not," Ms Conlon had said.

She had said she phoned Doyle once after she learned her messages had been intercepted and when she saw a list of phone numbers used to gain access to her voicemail.

The court had heard expert technical evidence of how the messages had been hacked by Doyle. After dialling the prefix, she added a 5 which was followed by the rest of Ms Conlon's number and that brought her straight into her voicemail, which had not been password-protected.

In an interview with gardai, Doyle admitted doing it on 11 occasions but she denied she had recorded the messages.

Doyle had said she did it to find the identity of a person whom she claimed had been making nuisance calls to her.