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Friday 22 June 2018

Drug addict garda 'did incalculable damage' by leaking info to criminals

Jimell Henry passed on sensitive Garda information and forged prescriptions
Jimell Henry passed on sensitive Garda information and forged prescriptions

A garda based in Dublin who passed information to a criminal gang did "incalculable" damage to the force, a court has heard.

Garda Jimell Henry (36), of Cairns Hill, Sligo, had contact numbers for 'The Pharmacy' and 'The Child' - two senior members of a Sligo criminal gang, the court heard.

At Sligo Circuit Court, Judge Keenan Johnson said that by her actions, she had "let her colleagues and her community down and the resulting damage to the force is incalculable".

Judge Johnson told the court that she had "undermined confidence in the gardai" and "betrayed her colleagues" by revealing information accessed via the gardai Pulse system to a criminal element, and this was very serious.

Harmful

Henry 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 16, 2014, and January 14, 2015.

She also pleaded guilty to four charges of disclosing operational details without proper authority between those dates.

The defendant further 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 between February 3, 2016, and April 20, 2016.

Superintendent Jim Delaney told the court that gardai in Sligo were concerned in 2015 and 2016 that sensitive garda information was finding its way to a Sligo criminal gang that was allegedly in a feud with another gang.

He said there had been a number of tit-for-tat incidents.

He said that Henry, a Ballymun-based officer, had contacted a Sligo garda, pointing out that some sensitive garda information was appearing on social media.

A "complex multi-disciplinary" investigation was launched and it was found that Henry herself had made 980 queries in a two-week period and 73pc of those were about Sligo on the Pulse system.

Supt Delaney said that Pulse was the most powerful element of An Garda Siochana.

Henry was spotted by gardai in a meeting with a well-known criminal in Ballisodare, the court heard. She claimed to gardai that she had met him to fix a hair straightener.

Henry contacted her criminal associates by what she termed a "gouger phone", the court was told. She was arrested on January 16, 2015.

Supt Delaney agreed under cross-examination from junior defence counsel Keith O'Grady that Henry was compromised by her habitual drug use but that she was a willing participant with one of the gangs.

Defence Counsel Kerida Naidoo SC said his client's offending had only been for a period of five months that was relatively small period in her life.

"Five months is not the totality of her life," he said.

She had pleaded guilty at an early stage, saving a four-week trial. Henry had a considerable drug problem, the court heard,

"For most of her 36 years she was law-abiding," Mr Naidoo added. "She got involved in drugs and had a relationship with people who were from the other side of the tracks and it led her to make very poor decisions."

Mr Naidoo said the actions of Henry had the potential for great harm to be done, but it was admitted that no person suffered actual harm and that was a very important distinction.

Tatters

Henry had no previous convictions. She apologised to gardai, her family - in particular her father, who is an ex-officer in Sligo - and the court.

Counsel said Henry's case had rightly attracted publicity and her reputation in Sligo was "in tatters".

Mr Naidoo said that if the court considered jail it would be a much more dangerous environment for a former garda than any other prisoner.

He said the defendant's remorse was genuine and there was no danger of repetition as her job in An Garda Siochana was untenable and that was a significant punishment.

The judge said the position a garda held in the Irish society was one of the most important and powerful. Judge Johnson said he would sentence the defendant on June 26.

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