(CMR) Police Sergeant Keren Watson, accused of misusing her office to access data on a woman who had a relationship with the same man she was in a relationship with, is expected to stand trial this month after the court decided she had charges to answer to.
Sergeant Watson had made an application for the dismissal of the charges; however, last month, Justice Cheryll Richards refused to grant the dismissal, saying that the policewoman had charges to answer to. Watson was then allowed to enter a plea. She pleaded not guilty to the misconduct of public office in the Grand Court.
Allegations are that Watson, with the assistance of a telecommunications company employee, accessed data on the woman on at least two occasions without the required authorization.
She then made contact with the other woman, who realized Watson had accessed her personal information, including messages. The woman then filed a complaint against Watson.
In February, the Office of the Ombudsman revealed that a police officer and a former employee of a local telecommunications company are facing criminal charges after the ex-employee allegedly unlawfully shared customers’ personal information with the officer, which was used for personal purposes.
The personal data breach was reported on 20 November 2020 under section 16 of the Data Protection Act. A subsequent investigation by the Office of the Ombudsman and the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) led to criminal charges before the court, including charges against the telecommunications company’s ex-employee and the police officer under section 54 of the Act.
“It is important for all public and private sector employees to be aware that access to, and the processing of, an individual’s personal data must be done fairly and lawfully and only for the purposes for which that data was provided,” Sharon Roulstone, Ombudsman said.
“As this case demonstrates, there are potentially serious consequences if personal data is not managed in accordance with the Data Protection Act,” she added.