Kerry businessman claims garda fraudulently obtained his private data from online sales platform

Case centres around an online exchange that occurred on the 'Advert.ie' platform involving the complainant and the seller of an electric drone
Kerry businessman claims garda fraudulently obtained his private data from online sales platform

Complainant has asked the High Court for an order directing the Garda Commissioner to identify the individual officer who allegedly sought his personal information. File picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

A businessman who claims a garda fraudulently obtained his private data from an online sales platform has asked the High Court for an order directing the Garda Commissioner to identify the individual officer who allegedly sought the information.

Tomasz Blazejewicz, a sales executive from Clover Hill Close, Killorgan, Co Kerry, wants to sue and formally serve proceedings on the individual garda in question and claims the information was allegedly fraudulently obtained in August of last year.

The court heard the case centres around an online exchange that occurred on the 'Advert.ie' platform involving Mr Blazejewicz and the seller of an electric drone bearing the username 'Appletartman'

Mr Blazejewicz claims he asked the seller several questions about the item.

He claims the seller became agitated after Mr Blazejewicz said, "I think you are trying to fool us, all, how much did you pay for this?"

The seller then asked him to take down the comment and asked the applicant for his phone number so he could further explain himself.

Mr Blazejewicz declined to provide his number.

He claims the seller said in in reply in further exchanges on the platform's forum that 'Appletartman' would get the number after he "filled out the form".

Mr Blazejewicz claims a few days later he received a telephone call from a male, whom he believed to be the seller.

He claims the male spoke to him "in a threatening manner" and said "You don't know who I am. I have everything. If you want screenshots. I'll show you all the screenshots. I have all your IP addresses. I've everything. Just remove the comments and it's over, OK"?

Shortly afterwards, the applicant said he received a WhatsApp message from the same number, which he claims enclosed photographic images of his private personal data which he had provided to Adverts.ie.

The data included Mr Blazejewicz's private messages on the platform, IP address, name, mobile number, email address and his Adverts.ie user ID.

The WhatsApp message also contained a text communication which stated: "I gave you [an] opportunity"

Data breach denied

In September 2021, the applicant's lawyers contacted Adverts.ie, and said there had been a data breach regarding his private information.

In reply, the platform said that there had been no data breach but informed his lawyers that the gardaí had asked for Mr Blazejewicz's data as part of an ongoing criminal investigation into stolen property.

The applicant claims the garda obtained personal data about him after a Garda Data Request Form was delivered to Distilled SCH Ltd trading as Adverts.ie on August 25, 2021, last, five days before he received the phone call and the WhatsApp message from the seller, and two days after the initial exchange on the forum.

His counsel, David O'Brien Bl, told the High Court that Mr Blazejewicz does not know the identity of the garda who made the data request to Adverts.ie.

No criminal investigation took place, and his client believes the data was obtained fraudulently.

He believes the garda who sought the data is either the seller on the Adverts.ie platform known as 'Appletartman' or is somebody known to the seller.

He claims that despite making requests to the Garda Commissioner for information regarding the garda who made the data request from Adverts.ie, the respondent has failed to furnish him with the individual garda's name nor an address for the service of legal proceedings.

He claims it is not reasonable for the Garda Commissioner to withhold the garda's name.

As a result, he has brought judicial review proceedings against the commissioner, where he seeks an order directing the respondent to furnish his solicitors with the garda's name and an address for the service of legal documents.

He also seeks a declaration that he is entitled to be apprised of the garda's identity and address.

Permission to bring the action was granted on an ex-parte basis by Mr Justice Charles Meenan.

The action will return before the courts in October.

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