A HSE paramedic used his iPhone to spy on female colleagues in a staff toilet.
Robert Murphy, aged 51, of Lissanalta Grove, Dooradoyle, Limerick, has pleaded guilty to a charge of harassment, following the discovery of his iPhone in a unisex toilet at a HSE ambulance base at Tyone, Tipperary, on May 5 last year.
Nenagh District Court heard of how one of Murphy’s female colleagues found a box of gloves, with a number of holes punched in it, perched on a windowsill at the toilet. When she looked more closely she discovered Murphy’s iPhone, which was recording in video mode.
The victim, who cannot be named, complained to her supervisor and Murphy “held his hands up”, Nenagh court heard.
Murphy, who was working at the time as a senior ambulance paramedic, said the iPhone was his and admitted placing it in the toilet.
The court heard that he apologised and deleted the video recording in front of the victim.
The following day, May 6, gardaí called to Murphy and he admitted he was behind the incident.
Murphy, who is married with three children, was arrested under section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act.
In Garda interviews he admitted placing his phone in the box of gloves in order to record videos of women in the toilet for his own pleasure.
Dan O’Gorman, defending, said his client was a “man of impeccable character” but had a “complicated” background.
Mr O’Gorman previously told the court how Murphy was born in California and that his mother was murdered when he was aged eight.
Murphy’s father was convicted of conspiracy to murder and jailed for 10 years, after which Murphy and his siblings were sent to Ireland to be cared for by relatives.
Mr O’Gorman said Murphy nevertheless “ploughed on through adversity”, completing education and training courses and qualifying as a tradesman before joining the ambulance corps.
Mr O’Gorman previously told the court that Murphy’s wife was diagnosed with cancer four years ago. His wife was present in court yesterday, seated alongside her husband.
“There is nothing to suggest he is an danger to anyone,” Mr O’Gorman told Judge Elizabeth MacGrath.
Insp Bernard Barry of Nenagh gardaí told the judge that Murphy admitted what he had done as soon as gardaí approached him about it.
The court heard he was still employed by the HSE, but was “serving his employers in a different area”.
Mr O’Gorman also said: “There is a disciplinary investigation going on, which my client is co-operating with.”
Judge MacGrath said she would take into account the psychological report as well as the fact that Murphy had “a very traumatic start in life”.
Judge MacGrath said the offer of €5,000 compensation would not influence her decision on sentencing as the victim was “most concerned” about this.
The judge added: “There can sometimes be disquiet among the public that compensation might seem that you are buying your way out of a problem in court. It will not. But, it might be an acknowledgement of the damage done to the victim.”
She remanded the matter to Oct 18 for an updated probation report and that €5,000 in compensation be transferred to the victim.
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