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Court

Former civilian garda employee jailed for two-and-a-half years for leaking information

Holly Hayden pleaded guilty to one count of disclosing confidential information from the Pulse system.

A FORMER CIVILIAN employee of An Garda Siochana who gave out information, including the locations of garda Covid-19 checkpoints, in return for cocaine has been jailed for two-and-a-half years.

Holly Hayden (27) of Bayview Terrace, Bray, Co. Wicklow, pleaded guilty to one count of disclosing confidential information from the Pulse system obtained in the course of her employment on 29 October 2019.

She further pleaded to two counts of accessing confidential information from the Pulse system for the purpose of corruptly obtaining a gift, consideration or advantage for herself at Dun Laoghaire Garda Station on 9 September 2019 and on dates between 28 April 2020 and 11 May 2020. She has no previous convictions.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard at a sentence hearing last July that from 2017, Hayden was a civilian employee of An Garda Siochana in an administrative role for two years.

Gardaí received confidential information that Hayden, working at the Dun Laoghaire District Office, was associated with criminal elements in Wicklow.

Sentencing Hayden today, Judge Orla Crowe acknowledged that a urine analysis report showed that Hayden has since stopped taking cocaine but the same report showed that she tested positive for cannabis.

She said Hayden had been “employed in a position of trust” and disclosed information for both cocaine and cash.

Judge Crowe said that offences were “inherently very serious matters” because Hayden had been in “a particular place of trust” and had access to information by virtue of this work.

She said a headline sentence of four year was warranted before she imposed a sentence of three years having taken into account Hayden’s pleas of guilty and remorse.

Judge Crowe suspended the final six months of the term on strict conditions including that Hayden engage with the Probation Service in relation to drug rehabilitation for two years upon her release from prison.

The investigating garda told Diana Stuart BL, prosecuting, at an earlier sentence hearing that Hayden admitted that she relayed information from the Pulse system about a named individual, referred to in court as ‘SN’.

On 29 October 2019, Hayden searched information about ‘SN’ and relayed it outside of the organisation. When interviewed, she told gardaí that she received a small amount of cocaine in exchange for the information.

Following analysis of her phone, it was identified that Hayden sent a document containing information from the Pulse system about another individual on September 9, 2019 to a person known to her.

On the same day, she provided a synopsis of information from the Pulse system about a person, referred to in court as ‘WD’. The court heard ‘WD’ instructed Hayden what information to download via the messaging app Telegram. She received cocaine in exchange for providing information on both of these occasions.

The court heard that on a date between 28 April and 11 May 2020, Hayden sent a Whatsapp message with five pictures attached, containing the locations of garda Covid-19 checkpoints.

In a message, Hayden said if she was able to get information, she ‘never minds doing it, all for the cause’. A person referred to as ‘CE’ replied: ‘Last thing I need is a problem with supply chains.’

The court heard Hayden and ‘CE’ were in a relationship at the time.

Hayden also took a photo of checkpoint locations on 5 May 2020 and when ‘CE’ asked for more information, Hayden provided it to him. She also sent a message containing seven images of checkpoint locations on 11 May which ‘CE’ then told her to delete.

When interviewed, Hayden made admissions to gardai and outlined that she had an addiction to alcohol and drugs.

She told gardai she felt like she was “disclosing nuclear secrets”. She said she “loved” her job and accepted she was going to be caught, but when you “owe a drug dealer money, you don’t have a choice”.

The investigating garda agreed with Paul Murray SC, defending, that his client was a person of “unblemished character” prior to her offending.

He accepted that Hayden told gardai she received cash, cocaine or a reduction of €80 on her drugs debt of approximately €5,000 for providing information.

The garda agreed with Mr Murray that his client said she was in fear. It was further accepted that she used her own details to carry out the searches on the Pulse system and told gardai she was not aware this information would appear on screen.

The witness agreed that Hayden’s admissions were helpful to the investigation.

Her mother told the court that Hayden’s life was “chaotic” and “messy” during 2019 due to her addiction issues. She said the family paid off Hayden’s debts.

Her daughter has mental health difficulties, epilepsy and a diagnosis of emotionally unstable personality disorder. She said her daughter has engaged with addiction treatment services and now helps to care for her grandmother.

Mr Murray told the court that his client apologised for her actions. He noted that she expressed shame and remorse while speaking with the Probation Services and acknowledged her offending was “gross disloyalty” to her employer.

His client had a serious addiction to alcohol and drugs during 2019. Her father died when she was young and her mother and stepfather were in court to support her.

Defence counsel noted that this case had been hanging over his client for two years and there had been “considerable publicity” in the past. He said that she has worked since these offences occurred, but lost her job and may find it difficult to find employment in future.

Mr Murray asked the court to consider adjourning the case to allow urine analysis to be undertaken.

Judge Crowe adjourned the case at an earlier sentence hearing to allow for urine analysis. She said the report would be relevant, given that Hayden’s offending was linked to her cocaine addiction.

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