Northern Ireland

Ex-PSNI officer Alan Marchini fined over database access

A former PSNI officer who used the police database to access information, including records of a girlfriend, has been fined £9,600.

Belfast Crown Court heard that over a four-year period from 2005 until 2009, Alan Marchini accessed the database 36 times without authorisation.

As a result of internal proceedings, Marchini was required to resign from the police after 29 years service.

He was not able to claim £90,000 under the Patten redundancy scheme.

Prosecuting lawyer Peter Magill told the court that among the checks Marchini carried out were searches on a woman he was "romantically engaged with," details of a man who had accused him of common assault, a car which he had sold and even members of his own family.

'Utterly useless'

He said the officer conducted searches into his accuser just "some hours" before he was due to be interviewed about the allegations but added that the former constable would not have gained any advantage from it.

The lawyer said that of all the information Marchini would have gleaned from the database, there was no evidence that it had been divulged or passed onto anyone let alone sold on for profit and described it as "utterly useless".

Arrested and interviewed in November 2009 Marchini, whose address was given as co/ Musgrave PSNI Station, admitted to what he had done and claimed it had been "out of curiosity and boredom".

He had been due to go on trial on Monday accused of two counts of misfeasance in a public office and a further 36 charges of obtaining or trying to obtain personal data, but the misconduct charges were left on the books after he pleaded guilty to wrongly using the police database.

Defence lawyer Jonathan Brown said: "Despite his impeccable service record he has suffered a very significant and very severe financial penalty already."

He added that Marchini, who worked in the drugs squad and set up a city centre initiative, now works as a bodyguard for a "significant businessman who resides in the UK and is subject to threats from various criminal elements".

In fining, Marchini a total of £9,600 Judge Tom Burgess said he accepted the former officer had already "paid a very heavy price" for what he had done and had "besmirched a very good record".

He added however that he had to mark the offences with a substantial fine "to bring home to anyone vested with the power to access this information database that they have a duty to those people whose information is stored on it that any breach could potentially undermine the confidence that the public have".