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Monday 16 July 2018

Callely trashed doctor's waiting room in 'comedy sketch' harassment blitz

Former minister Ivor Callely admitted criminal damage and harassment
Former minister Ivor Callely admitted criminal damage and harassment

Disgraced former government minister Ivor Callely waged a campaign of harassment against a GP, throwing dirt around his waiting room, ripping magazines and rubbing teabags on the walls, a court has heard.

Callely (60) was caught trashing the waiting room at the north Dublin practice after the doctor installed a hidden CCTV system.

Dublin District Court heard the pair were in dispute over the building they shared, and Callely believed the victim, Dr James Dolan, was stealing electricity and "flipped".

Judge Kevin Staunton gave Callely an eight-month sentence, suspended for a year, after hearing he had been under "enormous pressure" at the time, had paid €500 compensation for the damage and apologised.

Malicious

The former Fianna Fail TD and junior minister, of St Lawrence Road, Clontarf, pleaded guilty to one count of harassing Dr Dolan and seven of criminal damage at the waiting room of his practice at Howth Road, Dublin 3, in May and June last year.

Gda Declan O'Carolan said Dr Dolan had been subjected to a "campaign of criminal damage and incidents of a malicious nature".

He had a hidden camera installed, and a number of incidents involving Callely were captured.

Dr James Dolan
Dr James Dolan

Callely was seen damaging the carpet and saddle board, throwing waste from a dustpan on to the floor and using a brush to spread the waste around.

Dr Dolan was in his office with patients at the time and, on some occasions, Callely was seen standing directly outside the closed door. Once, he was seen stooping and putting his head beside the door handle.

He was seen tearing pieces of paper and throwing them around the waiting room, ripp-ing magazines that had been left out for patients.

Once, Callely removed something from his mouth and threw it on the floor.

He was seen rubbing a sweeping brush on the wall and smearing a tea bag on the wall.

Callely also poured dirt from the vacuum cleaner in between pages of magazines.

The court heard he had previous convictions for using a false instrument, driving without an NCT certificate and driving while holding a mobile phone.

Callely had an office in the premises, was the main tenant and sub-let a property to Dr Dolan.

There had been an "acrimonious dispute" and Callely was "of the view that Dr Dolan had effectively stolen electricity", his solicitor Noel O'Hanrahan said.

Callely had gone through a "significant trauma" over a number of years, was financially broke, in the midst of marital difficulties and under "enormous pressure".

Dr Dolan said he went to work "with a sense of dread".

He had been puzzled at first and wondered if children were coming in and "messing", but as it became relentless, he suspected Callely. He then put the camera in the waiting room.

Bizarre

"I think were these incidents not captured on CCTV, it would be very difficult for this court to accept that they happened, the behaviour seems so bizarre," Judge Staunton said.

He accepted it was done under extreme pressure because he did not think "anyone in their right mind" would engage in this kind of behaviour.

"There appears to be a certain element of sustained harassment here which I cannot ignore," he said.

It appeared Callely had attempted to "seriously damage" the practice.

The behaviour was like something "one would see in a comedy sketch" but "not funny for Dr Dolan", said.

In 2014, Callely was jailed for five months after he admitted fraudulently claiming €4,207.45 in expenses from the Oireachtas on forged mobile phone invoices between November 2007 and December 2009, while he was a senator.

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