No Criminal Charges, Sought, against Harris?

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Eoghan Harris not to face charges over journalist’s claim of harassment via Twitter

Journalist Aoife Moore made complaint to gardaí in 2021 over alleged harassment; DPP has decided against charges

Eoghan Harris: was sacked by the Sunday Independent after he admitted being involved with others in the running of a Twitter account which operated under the pseudonym Barbara J Pym. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Mon Sep 19 2022 – 19:50

Former senator and veteran journalist Eoghan Harris will not face criminal charges arising from allegations made to the gardaí last year by another journalist, Aoife Grace Moore. The Director of Public Prosecutions has decided no charges will be pursued against Mr Harris or his wife Gwen Halley.

Ms Moore made a formal statement of complaint to gardaí, which prompted a criminal investigation, alleging she had been harassed online via Twitter accounts linked to Mr Harris and Ms Halley. The investigation was carried out by gardaí in Pearse Street station in Dublin’s south inner city, with the inquiry completed earlier this year and the case file sent to the DPP.

However, having considered the results of the inquiry, the DPP has decided no criminal charges will be pursued against Mr Harris or Ms Halley. Mr Harris confirmed to The Irish Times he had been informed of the DPP’s decision. Ms Moore declined to comment on the outcome of the investigation into her allegations.

Ms Moore, who worked for The Examiner newspaper at the time she made the allegations to gardaí and now works for The Sunday Times, also initiated defamation proceedings against Mr Harris and Ms Halley. Those cases are not yet concluded and are not linked to the criminal investigation which has ended with a decision not to press charges.

In May, some 12 months after she made the criminal complaint, Ms Moore initiated defamation proceedings in the High Court against Ms Halley, over a Twitter account in the name of Dolly White. Ms Moore had already taken separate proceedings against Mr Harris, who is terminally ill with cancer, over posts from another Twitter account which operated under the pseudonym Barbara J Pym.

Mr Harris was sacked by the Sunday Independent last year after he admitted being involved with others in the running of the Barbara Pym account. When the matter emerged publicly in 2021, Mr Harris strongly refuted the allegation the tweets posted by the accounts were misogynistic, abusive or defamatory. He claimed the posts were fair political comment.

Learn moMs Halley is defending her action on the basis she tweeted about Ms Moore’s coverage of Sinn Féin and what was said in the messages, she claims, was fair comment. Similarly, Mr Harris is defending his case on the basis what he tweeted was political in nature.

Mr Harris previously admitted the Pym account was used to send tweets asking if Ms Moore was “turned on” by Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald being the first woman to lead the Opposition. Other tweets referred to Ms Moore as “sniping safely from behind Derry hedges,” adding that “her SF backside is sticking up in the air”.

Other accounts linked to the Pym account were shut down by Twitter for breaching its rules against “platform manipulation” and “spam” when it emerged in May, 2021, they were linked

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