Ex-RTE boss walks free as abusive text charges struck out
A FORMER RTE boss accused of sending degrading and harassing text messages to a work colleague walked free from court yesterday when a judge struck out the charges against him.
Fred Coll (67), Middletown, Gweedore, an ex-regional manager for Radio na Gaeltachta, had denied harassing Roisin Sweeney, Coteen, Gweedore, on dates between September 21, 2006 and September 29, 2007 when she received 21 "unwanted, harassing and degrading" text messages.
Dismissing the case at a special hearing of the case at Glenties District Court, Co Donegal yesterday, Judge David Anderson described the texts as "reprehensible" but said he could "not be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt" that they had been sent by Mr Coll.
The texts purported to relay to her, derogatory remarks others were making about her, including references to her as "a cheap slut with no morals and no self respect" and as someone "with low IQ only interested in sex and more sex".
In April 2007, a garda investigation got under way.
When gardai searched Mr Coll's home on October 16, 2007, two SIM cards were discovered in his locked car at the front of the property.
One matched a phone which had been purchased by him in Castlebar and from which nine messages were sent to Ms Sweeney. The second card was registered in the name of a fictitious person and had been used for sending two messages.
Judge Anderson, striking out the charges, asked: "As reprehensible as these calls may be, is possession of the cards sufficient, given the propensity to play musical chairs with SIM cards?"