Jury hears of unsettling messages allegedly left by barrister on colleague's phone07/06/2012 - 18:39:51
A jury has heard over 60 voicemail messages which a barrister allegedly left on a younger colleague’s phone some of which stated “I want you to be my boyfriend” and one advising the man that he was being watched when he was in the bathroom.
Paul McLoughlin (aged 49) of North Circular Road, has pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to harassing Lorcan Staines (aged 30) for four years between May 1, 2006 and May 14, 2010.
On the second day of the trial the court heard 62 voicemail messages allegedly left by the accused, from the 120 which Mr Staines recorded from his mobile phone. Mr Staines testified that listening to the messages was very upsetting and also caused great distress to his wife.
Mr Staines told Paul Carroll, BL, prosecuting, that the messages were usually left between 6pm and 7am, and it wasn’t unusual for his phone’s mailbox to be full in the mornings.
He estimated he also received over 300 missed calls from payphones in Dublin city centre. He explained to the court that as a barrister he was unable to turn off his phone as he had to be contactable for work.
Sergeant Declan Brogan played the messages in sequence for the jury. On October 29, 2009, nine messages were received between 8.19pm and 11.58pm.
In these messages, the caller repeatedly asks Mr Staines to treat him as “a professional equal” referring to Mr Staines refusal to meet him for coffee in 2005. Mr Staines had earlier testified that senior colleagues at the bar had warned the then young barrister to “stay away” from Mr McLoughlin.
In another series of messages, Mr McLouglin allegedly repeats: “I want you to be my boyfriend”, three times in one message and again in another.
When Mr Staines heard this message, he told the court: “It was more than two years then since a word had been spoken between us.”
Another message said: “You are not available to take my calls, but you are available to play with my emotions.” The phrase “fatal attraction” appeared many times in the messages.
Many of the messages refer to Mr Staines having barred his number, and in others he discusses conversations he has had with Sgt Brogan who had asked him to stop the calls.
When Mr Carroll asked Mr Staines was he worried about being watched, Mr Staines replied: “There was a message that said when I went into the bathroom I should look up and down, left and right because I was being watched.”
The caller also left messages saying that he was in Galway - where Mr Staines had studied – and was walking where he had walked, and another making clear he had researched Mr Staines’ date of birth.
Having listened to the messages for over two hours, Mr Staines became visibly upset, saying he felt he had been “goaded” into taking the case to court.
Mr McLoughlin took notes while listening to the messages and communicated with his solicitor throughout.
The trial continues before Judge Patricia Ryan and a jury of seven women and five men.
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