None of fingerprints found matched garda accused of harassment, trial told

The trial of a garda for allegedly harassing a State solicitor has heard none of the fingerprints found on abusive material matched those of the accused.

Eve Doherty (49), a garda based in Dublin, denies harassing Elizabeth Howlin between September 2011 and March 2013 and making false statements on two dates in March 2013 claiming Ms Howlin was perverting the course of justice.

Eve Doherty

Ms Howlin worked as a directing officer with the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and was involved in deciding whether or not to direct prosecutions in criminal cases.

Over an 18-month period, letters and emails were sent to Ms Howlin’s home, her place of work and to her GP calling her a “corrupt bitch” and an “incompetent useless hobbit”.

The material, which included posters left around her housing estate, falsely claimed that Ms Howlin was a political appointee and that she would “pull” files to prevent the prosecution of anyone connected to her or the government. Ms Howlin is a distant cousin of the TD Brendan Howlin.

Michael O’Higgins SC, defending, told the jury at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court that Ms Doherty denies being the author of any of the letters and emails. He said the allegations contained in them were hideous and defamatory.

On day ten of the trial today Detective Garda Conor Kiely told the jury that he carried out comparisons between the fingerprints provided by Ms Doherty and those found on a number of exhibits.

The exhibits included four copies of the poster distributed around the housing estate. None of the fingerprint marks found on these matched the prints of the accused.

Marks were also found on a letter addressed to the DPP Claire Loftus, a letter sent to the office of the DPP and a letter sent directly to Ms Howlin at her home. None of these marks matched the fingerprint samples taken from Ms Doherty.

A number of garda witnesses told the jury that they took part in a search of Ms Doherty’s home in south Dublin on October 3, 2013.

Detective Garda Eugene Stapleton, now retired, said that at 7.30am he called to the house and Ms Doherty answered the door. He informed Ms Doherty that he had a warrant to search the house and she invited him and other gardaí into the house.

The jury heard that gardaí seized a number of items from the house. These included a folder of envelopes and labels, an Epson scanner printer, disposable latex gloves, sunglasses and a dark wig.

Garda Derek Mullen said he seized a leather bound diary and two pages on a spiral bound notebook.

Detective Inspector William Hanrahan told the jury that he was involved in a search of an office used by Detective Sergeant Doherty in her duty in the Special Detective Unit, based in Harcourt Square, Dublin city.

He said he seized letters and envelopes and a seven-page typed document.

Detective Super John O’Driscoll told the jury that he arrested Ms Doherty at her home during the search on October 3, 2013. He said her reply to the arrest and caution was: “Is it the neighbours?”

Garda Sarah Skeed, a senior crime analyst, told the jury that she carried out an analysis of all emails sent from five email addresses using the Hushmail email service.

She that these five email accounts, brendanbarr, clairefoley, johngilligan, markkenny and michaelmullen were used to send emails to 779 unique email addresses.

456 of these email addresses were contacted on more than one occasion.

The jury were shown a slide presentation showing commonalities between the recipients used. The analysis showed that the various emails sent on dates in June 2012 and between March and September 2013 had multiple recipients in common.

44 emails were sent from the ’markkenny’ email account, 49 from the ’johngilligan’, 29 from ’clairefoley’, 71 from ’brendanbarr’ and 55 from ’michaelmullen’.

Some of these emails had subjects referring to a “corrupt TD and State solicitors” and “corrupt garda commissioner”.

The trial continues before Judge Melanie Greally and a jury.

KEYWORDS: Court, Eve Doherty


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