A former HMRC worker said she has been to “hell and back”after being wrongly accused of benefit fraud.
Catriona Daly, from Douglas, was awarded almost £7,000 in compensation after her employers unfairly sacked her prior to criminal proceedings taking place.
It was alleged Ms Daly had been claiming tax credits as a single person despite being in a relationship with her husband.
The VAT officer’s ordeal started in 2016 when an investigation commenced into her relationship.
While it took place, the mother-of-four had her employment terminated by HMRC in May 2017.
A criminal trial went ahead in March last year, where she was found not guilty of tax credit fraud.
An employment judge concluded she and Mr Daly had an “amicable separation” and took steps to make things work for their children. A document from one of her child’s nurseries which proved Mr Daly had been living at a separate address since October 2014 had been withheld.
The employment tribunal judge said it was “unreasonable” for certain documents not to have been shared from the criminal case for the employment tribunal.
The judge also concluded Facebook entries in 2012 proving the couple had separated and Mr Daly had been living the “single lifestyle” had also been deemed “unreasonable” not to have been shared.
HMRC said it does not comment on “identifiable individuals” but is “committed to treating staff fairly”.
Ms Daly admitted it was good to see the back of the proceedings.
She said: “It was a slap in the face to be treated like this from a company where I’d worked for 12 years.
“I’ve never being through the legal system before, my worst fear was a prison sentence. The last three years of my life I’ve been living on edge, I have really been to hell and back. Another part of me thinks how much public money was wasted on this.”
Ms Daly’s solicitor, Ryan Russell of Muir Myles Laverty, said: “We are delighted with this result against HMRC. The dismissal was premature.
“Our client was dismissed before her criminal trial where she was quickly found not guilty.
“It is wrong to make assumptions or draw the wrong conclusions without scratching beneath the surface and looking at the whole picture.”