Garda wore wig and sunglasses while sending anonymous email, trial told

A Garda on trial for harassing a State solicitor wore a wig and sunglasses while sending an anonymous email from a city centre internet cafe, a court has heard.

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.

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 leaflets 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.

Eve Doherty

The jury in the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court trial has previously heard technical evidence that some of the emails came from Hushmail email addresses sent using IP addresses linked to the Wired internet cafe business on Aungier Street.

On day nine of the trial today/yesterday (FRI), Garda members gave evidence of following Ms Doherty from the Wired cafe to a house in a south Dublin housing estate on September 28, 2013.

Michael O'Higgins SC, defending, told the jury that Ms Doherty accepts she was wearing black sunglasses and a black wig while using a computer in the internet cafe and on her journey home.

The owner of the business testified that he had software which he could use to view the screen of customer's computers. Using this programme, he said he noted that Ms Doherty was using an email account named 'Michael Mullen at' to send an email entitled “Corrupt Garda commissioner needs investigating immediately”.

He also wrote down the email recipients. These included email addresses at the Courts Service, the Financial Ombudsman and the Ombudsman.

Mr O'Higgins said that Ms Doherty's position was she did not write the original document, but it had been sent to her and she had added to it before emailing it onwards to the named recipients.

He said the email was calling for an external public investigation into matters in the guards. He said there were references to suicides in the force and to stress and depression affecting gardaí. There were also references to the “penalty points” controversy and the treatment of a garda whistleblower.

He said another complaint alleged that certain senior members were escaping prosecution when their relatives were involved in drunk-driving. He said the email called for a public tribunal.

He said he did not intend to suggest that any of the allegations were true or well-founded.

The Garda witness agreed with Mr O'Higgins that gardaí routinely received anonymous complaints of criminal behaviour. He agreed that the anonymous nature would not remove the obligation to investigate all complaints.

A Garda witness told the jury that at this time he was instructed to go to the cafe and put in place a surveillance operation on an unknown woman.

He said he saw Ms Doherty walking on Aungier St wearing a black jacket, a black beanie hat and a black scarf over her mouth. He said that after leaving the Luas at Dundrum, she took off the wig, sunglasses and jacket.

The trial continues before Judge Melanie Greally and a jury.

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