JOURNALIST PATRICIA DEVLIN COMPLAINT TO OPONI UPHELD
KRW LAW LLP (KRW) acts on behalf of journalist Patricia Devlin in her complaint against the PSNI over failing to investigate threatening messages directed against her and failing to protect her following making complaints.
We welcome the recent OPONI upholding her complaint against the PSNI in relation to its flawed investigative failings.
Patricia Devlin was subjected to terrible social media abuse including well publicised threats directed at her young child. In good faith she engaged with PSNI to attempt to have the perpetrator investigated and prosecuted.
There was significant evidence to identify and locate him. However, the perpetrator was not properly investigated.
The PSNI failed Patricia Devlin in two key respects.
First, in missing evidential opportunities and in failing to issue arrest warrants outside the jurisdiction.
Second, those failings were compounded by the absence of any senior PSNI personnel to oversee this serious investigation and subsequent complaint.
Kevin Winters, Solicitor and Senior Partner, KRW said:
“KRW have to ask why such 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. We look forward to PSNI Professional Standards Department implementing the OPONI recommendations on the actions that now need to be taken to prevent similar reoccurrences.”
Patrick Corrigan, Northern Ireland Programme Director Amnesty International, said:
“The threats sent to Patricia Devlin were totally abhorrent and are 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. It is the police’s responsibility to uphold their right to do so and to ensure there is no impunity for those who threaten press freedom. The failure of the PSNI to properly investigate this case is totally unacceptable. We hope that the outcome of the OPONI investigation will concentrate minds within the PSNI in responding to further threats to journalists in Northern Ireland.”