Dublin detective convicted of harassing solicitor

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court
Image caption Sgt Eve Doherty was convicted by a jury at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court

A Garda (Irish police) detective has been found guilty of harassing a state solicitor by sending her abusive letters and emails.

Eve Doherty, a Dublin-based sergeant, denied harassing Elizabeth Howlin between September 2011 and March 2013.

Over an 18-month period, letters and emails were sent to Ms Howlin's home, her place of work and to her GP.

The material, alleging Ms Howlin was corrupt, included A4 posters left around her housing estate

They falsely claimed that the solicitor was a political appointee.

At the time, Ms Howlin worked with the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), where she was involved in deciding whether or not to direct prosecutions in criminal cases.

Letters and emails sent to her called her a "corrupt bitch", an "incompetent useless hobbit" and a "two faced bitch".

Neighbours wrongly named as drug dealers

Some of the material contained false allegations naming neighbours of Ms Howlin as drug dealers and falsely claiming that Ms Howlin had interfered in their prosecution.

Ms Howlin said that she found the material very upsetting and distressing and an invasion of her privacy.

Sgt Doherty, 49, had denied being the author of any of the material, which included anonymous emails containing similar allegations.

However, a literary comparison by police between the emails and documents found in Sgt Doherty's home and work locker identified multiple examples of 60 common features such as grammatical errors.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that Ms Howlin didn't know Sgt Doherty until the trial and that the accused was then in a relationship with the victim's ex-partner.

'Watching every move'

During the trial the jury heard that the first letter was sent in September 2011 to Ms Howlin's home.

It stated: "We are all watching every move you make".

A second letter was sent around November 2011 to Ms Howlin's boss, DPP Claire Loftus. The letter incorrectly stated that Ms Howlin was the niece of Brendan Howlin TD - she is actually a distant cousin.

Sgt Doherty denied making false statements in March 2012 claiming Ms Howlin was perverting the course of justice.

A jury acquitted her of these charges.

Sgt Doherty was remanded on continuing bail until 27 October for sentence.