Jail inevitable for garda guilty of harassing solicitor, judge says

Garda Detective Eve Doherty called a State solicitor an ‘incompetent useless hobbit’

Garda Eve Doherty who has been found guilty of harassing solicitor Elizabeth Howlin. Photograph: Collins

Garda Eve Doherty who has been found guilty of harassing solicitor Elizabeth Howlin. Photograph: Collins

 

A garda detective who was found guilty of harassing a State solicitor by sending her abusive letters and emails is to be placed in custody next week ahead of sentencing in January, a judge has ordered.

In Dublin Circuit Criminal Court on Friday, judge Melanie Greally initially ordered that Eve Doherty (50) be placed into custody immediately.

However following defence submissions, the judge agreed to give Doherty a few days to make arrangements.

Doherty, a detective sergeant based in Dublin, was found guilty by a jury of harassing Elizabeth Howlin between September 2011 and March 2013 following a two-week trial last July.

She was found not guilty of two counts of making false statements on two dates in March 2012, in which she claimed Ms Howlin was perverting the course of justice.

At the time in question, 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.

The judge said a custodial sentence was “inevitable” given Doherty’s lack of remorse for her actions. She ordered that Doherty be placed in custody next Monday morning and set a sentence date of January 19th next year.

The trial heard that over an 18-month period, letters and emails were sent to Ms Howlin’s home, her place of work and to her GP calling her a “corrupt bitch”, an “incompetent useless hobbit” and a “two-faced bitch”.

The court heard Ms Howlin didn’t know Doherty until the trial and that Doherty was then in a relationship with the victim’s ex-partner.

A victim impact statement was handed into court from Ms Howlin, but was not read out. Kerida Naidoo SC, prosecuting, said Doherty sent emails from the same internet cafe in Dublin city centre to hundreds of recipients using anonymous email accounts.

Following a Garda investigation, Doherty was arrested when gardaí followed her after she left the cafe wearing a wig and sunglasses.

Doherty, who worked for the crime and security division, was suspended from An Garda Siochana after her arrest, the court heard. She is still a serving member of the force, defence barrister Michael O’Higgins SC told the court.

She has no previous convictions.

Doherty spent a month in St John of Gods Hospital after her arrest and a 13-page psychological report was handed into court. The court heard Doherty was treated for severe work-related stress, depression, anxiety and paranoia. She also has had suicidal ideation, the court heard.

“This is not something that can be explained simply by malice or badness,” Mr O’Higgins said, adding it was a “complicated” case involving psychological issues.