A senior police analyst has admitted accessing documents without authorisation.

Peter Michael Devereau searched for a family member using the police database after he said they were involved in a dispute over an estate.

The 56-year-old had previously pleaded not guilty to two allegations with a trial set for February 29.

However, on Thursday, February 8, changed his plea to guilty to an offence of unauthorised access of computer material.

The second charge, of unlawfully obtaining personal data, was dismissed after the prosecution offered no evidence in light of the guilty plea to the first charge.

Devereau will be sentenced in summary court on April 11.

Prosecuting advocate Kate Alexander told the court that the complainant in the case was the Isle of Man Constabulary.

Devereau was working as a senior police analyst, using Structured Query Language (SQL) on the Police Connect system.

SQL users are in a position of trust but no trail is left when they access data.

On April 27, Devereau used the system to search for a family member.

He then told the police himself that he had done this and that he had been viewing the data because of a long standing family dispute over a trust.

Devereau confessed that he had accidentally viewed the data on previous occasions, but on April 27 had intentionally performed the search.

On May 23, he attended a voluntary interview and again admitted accessing the information without authorisation.

The court heard that he has no previous convictions.

Devereau, who lives at Selborne Drive in Douglas, was represented in court by advocate Jim Travers.

Mr Travers said that his client had never divulged the information he had accessed to anyone outside of the police.

The advocate said that Devereau had reported the matter himself and that there would have been no way for anyone to find out if he had not done so, as no trail is left.

Mr Travers said that the defendant had been under a great deal of stress at the time, with an ongoing dispute within the family over an estate.

The advocate handed in letters of reference for his client and said that Devereau had even requested that he could be locked out of being able to access the information, so there was no chance of him coming across it accidentally.

‘He was at a particularly low ebb and made the decision to go back to the forbidden fruit,’ said Mr Travers.

‘As a senior police analyst he had full access on the system.

‘He hasn’t divulged a single scrap of information beyond discussions with his line manager.

‘The offence would never have come to light if he had not divulged it.  He has been honest and frank and has landed himself in these difficulties.’

Mr Travers went on to say that there had been efforts to revert the process to a disciplinary hearing but these had fallen on deaf ears.

The advocate asked magistrates to consider a conditional discharge, saying that this would mean that Devereau had some kind of chance of resurrecting his career.

However, prosecutor Ms Alexander said that the offence had been a gross breach of trust and that a conditional discharge would not send out the right message.

Magistrates ordered that a probation report be prepared before sentencing.

Bail continues in the sum of £500 with a condition to contact probation and co-operate in the preparation of the report.