Former garda to be sentenced for passing on confidential information

Former  garda Daniel Tarrant at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court yesterday for his sentence hearing which was adjourned for disclosing personal data. Photograph: Collins/Courts.

Former garda Daniel Tarrant at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court yesterday for his sentence hearing which was adjourned for disclosing personal data. Photograph: Collins/Courts.

 

A sacked garda was before a court yesterday for passing on confidential information to third parties. Daniel Tarrant (51) personally and indirectly accessed confidential data on the Garda Pulse system to give to retail security firms who were clients of his partner.

Det Garda Sgt Tommy Murphy said that the garda’s motivation had been to help his partner preserve a good business relationship with the firms as she had no licence to provide security services.

Tarrant, Kiskeam, Mallow, Co Cork, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to three charges of disclosing personal data between December 23rd, 2008 and July 16th, 2009. He also pleaded guilty to illegally possessing a single-barrel shotgun in October 2009, at Ashbourne, Co Meath.

Det Garda Sgt Murphy told Colm Ó Briain, prosecuting, that Tarrant explained the gun was a family heirloom he inherited after his father’s death which he had never bothered to register.

Gardaí began investigating Tarrant’s mobile phone records after a tip-off from the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation in November 2011 about data protection breaches. Tarrant, who had been stationed at Finglas Garda station, was dismissed after 27 years in the force following the investigation. He is entitled to a pension but he will not have access to it until he is 60.

The information he accessed from Pulse records related to a security firm’s business competitor on one occasion and on another it was personal details of a known shoplifter. Tarrant admitted he had accessed the records personally and by asking colleagues.

Det Garda Sgt Murphy agreed with Dominic McGinn SC, defending, that there was no criminal context in Tarrant’s offences. He said his client acted out of “misguided loyalty” to his partner and asked Judge Mary Ellen Ring to recognise that Tarrant has already been punished through losing his career and good character.

Mr McGinn told her there was no reality in a fine, which is up to €100,000 for a Data Protection Act breach, since his client was “on the breadline”.

Judge Ring adjourned sentencing for a Probation Services report to see if Tarrant was suitable for community service in lieu of a prison sentence for the firearms offence. She remanded him on continuing bail until next month.