Updated: 11/07/17 : 18:47:47
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Garda on trial for harassing State solicitor

A garda has gone on trial accused of harassing a State solicitor by describing her as politically corrupt in a series of "hideous" and "vitriolic" letters and emails.

Eve Doherty (aged 49), a garda based in Dublin, has denied harassing Elizabeth Howlin between September 2011 and March 2013 and making false statements claiming Ms Howlin was perverting the course of justice.

On the first day of a trial at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court the jury heard that Ms Howlin worked in the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) at the time.

Over the 18-month period letters and emails were sent to her home, her place of work and to her GP calling Ms Howlin a "corrupt bitch" and an "incompetent useless hobbit".

The material made claims that Ms Howlin, who is a distant cousin of the TD Brendan Howlin, was a political appointee and that she would "pull" files to prevent the prosecution of anyone connected to her or the Government.

Ms Howlin told Kerida Naidoo SC, prosecuting, that all the allegations in the emails were untrue but that they also contained many personal details which are true.

Mr Naidoo has told the jury that Ms Howlin's ex-husband David Chapman was in a relationship with the defendant at the time.

Michael O'Higgins SC, defending, told the jury that Ms Doherty denies being the author of any of the letters and emails. He said the allegations contained in them were hideous and defamatory.

The first letter sent to Ms Howlin's home in September 2011 purported to be from her neighbour. The author said Ms Howlin was a "pompous arrogant c**t" and asked her to "f**k off back to whatever hell hole you crawled out of".

The letter named her young son and the author said they felt sorry for him for having "a c**t of a mother like you". The letter stated "We are all watching every move you make".

In December 2011 a neighbour alerted Ms Howlin to leaflets which had been left on cars around her estate in suburban south Dublin. The leaflet stated that Ms Howlin was a corrupt State solicitor and had interfered in the prosecution of a local family of "drug dealers".

Ms Howlin said the allegations were completely untrue and were the worst type of allegations for someone in her job.

She said the allegations were very upsetting and gave a malicious and false impression of her. She said that overall they made her very anxious and she stopped sleeping and suffered a loss of confidence.

Ms Doherty is charged with harassment of Ms Howlin and with making a false statement on March 1, 2012 and March 31, 2012 claiming Ms Howlin attempted to pervert the course of justice. She has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

The trial continues before Judge Melanie Greally and a jury.