A police officer unlawfully accessed the PSNI computer system to search for information on his children’s whereabouts, Limavady Magistrates Court heard today.
Roger Mahon, (48), whose address was given as c/o Limavady PSNI Station, was fined £3,000 for having unlawfully obtained or disclosed personal data held on the PSNI NICHE system.
Mahon, who the court heard was pensioned off on sickness and now lives in Scotland, was charged with two counts of unauthorised access to computer material on April 1, 2010, and a further four counts of unlawful obtaining/disclosure of personal data on April 19, 2010.
The court heard Mahon accessed the PSNI NICHE system to search for addresses connected to his new partner and in relation to his own children.
A prosecutor said the defendant had made admissions and there was no evidence he obtained data.
Defence solicitor, Brian Stelfox, told the court Mahon was an experienced police officer and had been a member of the Crime Team. He said Mahon had felt compelled to go into the system to get information about his children.
“He wrongly went in to access the system to see where his children where,” said Mr. Stelfox. “He just wants this over. He was an excellent police officer.”
Mr. Stelfox said Mahon had been pensioned off on sickness and now lived in Scotland.
Deputy District Judge Chris Holmes said there were a number of serious difficulties in the case, but there were two points in Mahon’s favour. He was forthright during the police investigation, and he had signed onto the system under his own user name and not tried to hide what he was doing.
“The protection of data is important,” said Judge Holmes. “Members of the public are entitled to be aware their data is protected.”
Mahon was fined £500 on each charge.