Jerome Quinn ‘used internet at work to hit out at BBC’
Former BBC GAA sports reporter Jerome Quinn was axed from his job after he spent more than two years anonymously criticising his employer through the internet from his work computer, a fair employment tribunal has heard.
The panel, sitting at Killymeal House in Belfast, heard that “extensive” posts which Mr Quinn wrote under the username ‘Bloody Mary’ were made between December 2006 and January 2009 to a GAA forum.
A BBC disciplinary hearing launched last year had found he had used the internet forum to try and incite a campaign involving the public to complain about the organisation.
A charge letter, which was discussed during yesterday’s hearing, also revealed Mr Quinn was responsible for “offensive, negative, disparaging and possibly defamatory” posts about BBC colleagues and sports personalities.
Giving evidence yesterday, Kathleen Carragher, BBC Northern Ireland Editor for Radio News, said after suspicions were raised that Mr Quinn was behind the posts an internal probe was launched.
Ms Carragher, who was involved in the original BBC disciplinary hearing in 2009, said the posts extracted during the investigation showed that threads on the forum were either “initiated or contributed” to by Mr Quinn.
Further analysis also showed the senior broadcast journalist had used his BBC work computer between December 3, 2006 and January 6, 2009 to send the posts.
Ms Carragher said when approached he admitted being responsible for the posts “straight away”.
This led to Mr Quinn being in breach of BBC guidelines which resulted in him no longer being considered “impartial”.
Ms Carragher explained impartiality “lies at the heart” of the BBC’s commitment to its audiences and Mr Quinn’s position in the organisation was untenable.
The tribunal continues.