Garda sergeant sent forward for trial over alleged unlawful sharing of personal data

Garda Sergeant Sent Forward For Trial Over Alleged Unlawful Sharing Of Personal Data
A garda sergeant has been sent forward for trial accused of unlawfully sharing personal information from the Garda Pulse system. File photo: Collins
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Tom Tuite

A garda sergeant and another man have been sent forward for trial accused of unlawfully sharing personal information from the Garda Pulse computer system.

It follows an investigation by gardaí attached to the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation (NBCI).


Garda Sergeant Thomas Bowe (51), of Naas Garda Station, in Co Kildare, and Niall Sheehy (58), of Ballinteskin, Stradbally, Co Laois, appeared before Judge Treasa Kelly at Dublin District Court charged with offences section 145 of the Data Protection Act for Disclosure of personal information obtained without authority in 2019.

They were served with books of evidence by Detective Sergeant Padraic Jennings.

The judge granted an order to send the co-defendants for trial to the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, where the case will be listed on October 19th.

Garda Sergeant Bowe faces 21 charges while Mr Sheehy has 10 counts in the book of evidence.


They were warned to tell the prosecution if they intended to use alibis in their defence and were remanded on bail with conditions not to contact each other.

Mr Sheehy was granted legal aid.

A third co-accused could not come to court on medical grounds, and his case in his absence was adjourned until October.

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) directed Mr Sheehy's case be dealt with in the District Court only if he pleaded guilty.


Defence solicitor Tracy Horan said her client would take a "certain course". Judge Kelly held, however, that the case was still too serious and should be sent to the Circuit Court, which has wider sentencing powers.

Home search

Outlining the prosecution evidence, Detective Sergeant Jennings said in March 2020, the NCBI carried out an investigation into the activities of a member of An Garda Síochána. It led to the search of Mr Sheehy's home.

Mr Sheehy's mobile phone was seized and subjected to technical analysis.

"We discovered a member of An Garda Síochána had forwarded a number of screenshots from the Garda Pulse system to Mr Sheehy", he alleged, adding it happened on 10 occasions.

The screenshots included pictures and personal information contained on the garda information system.

Detective Sergeant Jennings said the case against Mr Sheehy was that he had forwarded them to two other people; however, there was "no financial reward" for the information.

The offence can, on conviction on indictment, result in a fine not exceeding €50,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years or both.

The DPP directed that Mr Bowe, yet to indicate a plea, must face trial on indictment.

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