IRISH TIMES 23.06.2014

by Elaine Edwards

A private investigator is facing 72 criminal charges in relation to alleged breaches of data protection legislation, including illegally accessing and disclosing personal information on individuals held by An Garda Síochána and the ESB.

Michael J Gaynor, trading as MJG Investigations, Beatty Grove, Celbridge, Co Kildare, was before Dublin District Court this morning facing a prosecution by the Data Protection Commissioner.

It is the first such criminal prosecution of its kind in the State.

Mr Gaynor faces three charges of illegally accessing personal information held by An Garda Síochána and of disclosing it without authority, under the provisions of section 22 (1) of the Data Protection Acts 1988 and 2003.

He faces a further nine charges of illegally accessing and disclosing personal information held by the ESB under the same section of the Acts.

Some 60 charges against him relate to illegally processing the personal data of a number of individuals without an entry in the register held by the Data Protection Commissioner for data processors.

The offences are all alleged to have occurred between May and October 2013.

Counsel for Mr Gaynor, Justin McQuade BL, said he needed to assess the file on the matter and to discuss whether certain matters may or may not be admissible.

He asked that the Data Protection Commissioner further distil the information in the summons and to outline what matters he would seek to rely on in the case.

Sophie More O’Ferrall of Philip Lee Solicitors, for the commissioner, said that while there may be “arguments to be had” over certain matters, it was the prosecution’s intention to rely on all of the matters that had been outlined in the file.

Judge John O’Neill adjourned the matter for mention to July 21st next.

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