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Financial crime investigator admits sending police intel via WhatsApp

Isle of Man Constabulary employee pleads guilty to data offence

A financial crime investigator on the Isle of Man will be sentenced in August after admitting sending police intelligence to her family members over WhatsApp.

Sharen Judith Gardner, of Queens Terrace in Douglas, pleaded guilty to unlawfully obtaining personal data during an appearance at Douglas Courthouse yesterday (12 June).

The 55-year-old, who is employed in the civilian role by the Isle of Man Constabulary, had sent an image over the messaging platform on or about 10 May last year.

The court heard police had seized a mobile phone as part of an unrelated matter; when they extracted the data on it they found a group chat which included Gardner.

She’d sent an image showing her computer screen at work which was displaying intelligence reports from the constabulary’s CONNECT database; personal data was clearly visible.

The subsequent message thread saw Gardner state her home address would be ‘on their next’, acknowledging she knew she could get in trouble for sending it and discussion about a Class C drug.

The prosecutor told the court the intelligence reports pictured were of a ‘sensitive and restricted nature’ and Gardner was not allowed to disclose the information.

Gardner’s advocate described the incident as a ‘slip’, saying the group chat was ‘casual banter’, but admitted: “This was an unfortunate episode”.

He said the conversation had been between his client, her husband who is a retired police officer and their two children, adding: “It was self-contained and nothing came of this.”

A social enquiry report has been requested before sentencing takes place.

Gardner will be sentenced on 15 August; bailing her until that date Magistrates told her: “This is a serious matter before the court.”

Manx Radio has invited the Isle of Man Constabulary to comment and to confirm Gardner's current employment status; it has declined at this stage.

In April this year a senior police analyst who accessed intelligence reports about his brother-in-law without permission was handed a conditional discharge after pleading guilty.

You can read the full story HERE.

 

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