Posted: Mon Sep 13, 2021 3:44 am Post subject: Journalist Patricia Devlin's complaint upheld over PSNI 'fai
Journalist Patricia Devlin's complaint upheld over PSNI 'failure'
A complaint by a journalist over "a complete failure" by the Police Service of Northern Ireland to properly investigate an online threat to sexually attack her baby has been upheld.
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Patricia Devlin, a crime reporter with the Sunday World, took the case to the Police Ombudsman last year.
Her lawyer said her treatment by the PSNI was "deeply unsettling".
The reporter had the support of Amnesty International.
Ms Devlin received the threat a year ago in a direct message to her Facebook account, signed in the name of neo-Nazi group Combat 18.
Police Ombudsman, Marie Anderson, said the threat made against the journalist was "repulsive".
She added that it was "concerning that police failed to take measures to arrest the suspect at the earliest opportunity".
'Failed to take measures'
Ms Devlin said she hoped the findings would help "anyone else who is reporting threats, especially over social media and in particularly journalists, to help them and the PSNI deal with it better".
She said she had to seek her own legal advice which "you should never have to do when you go to the PSNI".
"You're going to the people who are there to protect you and carry out appropriate investigations," she said.
"I've had sleepless nights, I've had nightmares that no mother should ever have, I felt isolated, I felt hopeless and I felt that no one's been listening to me."
A Police Ombudsman review of the investigation found that "evidential opportunities" were missed in regards to police enquiries.
Ms Devlin's lawyer, Kevin Winters, said questions have to be asked as to "why selective incompetence was allowed to facilitate the suspect in evading prosecution".
"It is both deeply unsettling that a well-known journalist should be treated in this way by the PSNI and regrettably, on a wider level, it undermines confidence in policing in Northern Ireland," he said.
Patrick Corrigan, of Amnesty International, said the threats sent to Patricia Devlin were "totally abhorrent" and were part of a "wider climate of intimidation of journalists in Northern Ireland".
"It is the responsibility of the media to shine a light into the dark corners of our society," he said.
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