Ex-garda jailed for leaking information to criminals
Judge says actions of Jimell Henry (36) ‘a serious betrayal of trust’ which put lives at risk
Former garda Jimell Henry has been jailed for 18 months after admitting to passing information from the force’s computer sytem to criminals in Co Sligo. Photograph: James Connolly.
A former garda has been jailed for 18 months after admitting to passing information from the force’s computer sytem to criminals in Co Sligo.
Circuit Court Judge Keenan Johnson described the crimes committed by Jimell Henry (36) as “very serious” following her prosecution, the first of its kind in the history of the State.
“By her actions the accused put investigations and more importantly lives at risk,” Judge Johnson said, adding that the public had a “right” to expect gardaí to be “beyond reproach” in their duties.
As he jailed Henry, from Cairns Hill in Sligo, for three years with the final 18 months suspended for five years, the judge said she had caused “serious reputational damage” to An Garda Síochána.
However, he added that the “thorough investigation” which led to her prosecution and conviction had gone “a long way to restoring the force’s reputation and undoing the damage caused” by Henry’s actions.
Henry had pleaded guilty to passing information to two well-known Sligo criminals called “Pharmacy” and “Child”. She was caught out after an inquiry found that she made 980 queries in a two-week period on the Pulse system and 73 per cent of those were about Sligo.
The judge said that by releasing sensitive information from the Garda’s Pulse computer system “to members of the criminal fraternity, she put the lives of members of the public at risk”.
“The offences undermine public confidence in the gardaí and mark a serious betrayal of trust by the accused not only to herself, but to her colleagues in An Garda Síochána, her family and most importantly the community at large,” Judge Johnson said.
“I am satisfied that the disclosure offences are very serious matters and are arguably as serious as possible other than violent offences for a garda to commit in the course of their duty.”
Given the “offending occurred over less than a two-month period and while the accused was in the throes of a serious drug addiction and under the influence of an undesirable criminal fraternity, I am satisfied that an element of consecutive sentencing is not appropriate,” he added.
Henry originally pleaded guilty to three charges of disclosing information obtained during the course of her duty as a garda in Co Dublin knowing that the disclosure of that information was likely to have a harmful effect on dates between December 16th, 2014 and January 14th, 2015.
She also pleaded guilty to four charges of disclosing operational details without proper authority on dates between December 16th, 2014 and January 15th, 2015.
The defendant also pleaded guilty to two charges of forging prescriptions for medication and two charges of giving false information to obtain prescribed medication from chemists in Sligo in a period from February 3rd, 2016 and April 20th, 2016. Henry also pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine at Tullynagracken North, Cairns Hill, on January 16th, 2015.
Judge Johnson noted that Garda Henry had drug issues well before she joined the force.
“During her career as a garda and obviously the accused continued to abuse drugs and it is the abuse of these drugs together with her fraternisation with criminals that led to her committing the index offences.”
Judge Johnson suggested that the force randomly test active members for drugs, saying those with addiction problems were vulnerable to being blackmailed by suppliers.
Henry was also bound to the peace on a bond of €500 for a period of five years after her release. She was to be under the supervision of the Probation Service for two years after her release, stay drug free and submit to a urine analysis when requested by gardaí.
Speaking in Dublin, Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan said: “There’s a great onus and a particular duty on behalf of members of An Garda Síochána to uphold the law. Anything less than that is unacceptable.”