Family tells garda harassment trial of posters on the streets accusing them of drug dealing

Family tells garda harassment trial of posters on the streets accusing them of drug dealing
Eve Doherty. Pic: Collins

The neighbours of a woman allegedly harassed by a garda have told a jury about posters found around their estate accusing her of corruption and branding them drug dealers.

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

At the time Ms Howlin worked as a directing officer with the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

She told the jury at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court that she was involved in deciding whether or not to direct prosecutions in criminal cases.

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

The material made claims that Ms Howlin, who is a distant cousin of the TD Brendan 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 said that all the allegations were untrue but that the material contained personal details that were true. She said the material was very upsetting and affected her confidence and peace of mind.

In March 2012 a resident of the estate in Blackrock Co Dublin where Ms Howlin lives found A4 sized posters around the estate which had photographs of Ms Howlin and Brendan Howlin on them.

The poster contained allegations about Ms Howlin’s neighbours, the Martins, describing them as drug dealers and claiming they were best friends with Ms Howlin. The poster further claimed that Ms Howlin had used inappropriate influence to protect the family from prosecution.

Pat Martin told the trial that his family were not drug dealers. He said his son was charged previously with a minor offence of possession of cannabis and was prosecuted for this offence.

He said Ms Howlin had no involvement with his son’s case. He said his family were “absolutely traumatised” after gardaí had come to his family home with a search warrant.

He said he knew that Ms Howlin worked for the DPP and his wife called her to ask her for the number of a solicitor. He said they didn’t ask Ms Howlin for any advice.

Mr Martin said allegations that there was a large seizure of drugs at his home were absolutely untrue.

Patricia Martin said that her son pleaded guilty to the offence. She agreed with Michael O’Higgins SC, defending, that the case was struck out and there was no conviction recorded.

He said he was not suggesting that Ms Howlin had any part to play in that.

Ms Doherty is charged with harassment of Ms Howlin and with making a false statement on March 1, 2012 and March 31, 2012 claiming Ms Howlin attempted to pervert the course of justice. She has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

The trial continues before Judge Melanie Greally and a jury.

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