Noah Donohoe: Scandal and Failure by the State & Office of the Police Ombudsman – by Donal Lavery

“There is no trust more sacred than the one the world holds with children.” – Kofi Annan

“What is it about the Government and its agents and employees that they can lie to us with impunity, but we risk being sent to jail if we lie to them?” – Andrew Napolitano 

“Lawsuits hold these bastards accountable and make the world safer.” – Mark M. Bello 

When I first took interest in the Noah Donohoe case it wasn’t just in the hope that he would be returned to his mother, but in the hope that he would be returned alive. Now that such an awful tragedy has happened in my locality, I have a social and moral obligation to my fellow citizens in both asserting and defending their rights against the tyranny of unelected bureaucracy and the negligence or ineptness of those who preside over it. For offences by the individual are deemed ‘criminal’ while crimes against the individual by the state are regarded as ‘incompetence’ by secrecy. That is the paradox we live under – rules and standards apply in some instances with some people but not in others. 

The ‘public interest’ clause governing us is usually defined along the lines that it encompasses “the general welfare and wellbeing of society”, pending interpretation. But that isn’t ‘cement’ by words alone and words mean many things to many people. It goes without question that Noah Donohoe’s death and his family’s plight won the hearts and minds of most of the population (those who are right thinking). And in doing so, people want to know that justice via transparency and accountability has been properly served. These are piecemeal demands and expectations in any society which calls itself “democratic”.  After all, we invest in our young people so many resources so that they may learn from the past, enjoy the present and plan to lead for the future.  

However, it is questionable if we actually live in a democracy or some kind of benign fascist state that calls itself a “democracy”, where ‘dictatorship’ comes not in jackboots and salutes but in the form of unelected officials with a human face making massive decisions that impact the lives of us all. I have therefore long held the view that rather than a Police Ombudsman we should move to the Welsh and English variant of an elected Police and Crime Commissioner, who can be hired and fired by you at the ballot box. This whole murky affair has reinforced that belief and show me a situation anywhere whereby a little more democracy ever hurt anyone? 

How many of you reading this are waiting years on the Police Ombudsman to pursue and personify some degree of resolve in tackling historical and current crimes by the state? The answer to that is nothing short of a scandal. Why do people put up with the practice that is being applied whereby these civil authorities are simply waiting for families to die off or proverbially “piss off”, in order to abandon any legal and ethical duty of care they owe them in providing some closure?

You all need to reflect on that because it shows us what we have become – where we have  passively allowed a promising young man with his life ahead of him to die in suspicious circumstances and yet the only senior person in public life who has shown a consistent and genuine interest in this matter happens to be a victim of state violence himself – John Finucane. That’s not acceptable generally and it’s not acceptable that you or your family will perish before any measure of justice is merited, if it ever is, in so many unsolved deaths. If we lived in England, scores of specialist Scotland Yard officers and forensic psychologists plus “experts” of every kind, would be deployed around the clock to acquire for the Donohoe family the transparency we have yet to provide. Remember the effort placed in the investigation of the disappearance and death of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman? 

As I stated before, I have had pretty lengthy exchanges with numerous officials at the Police Ombudsman’s Office in Belfast. With each of those exchanges there has been a rebuttal that my substantive complaint against the PSNI be properly probed with due care and consideration. It has been referred back to the PSNI to start with; I then have been told an ex-cop (as stated on their website at the time about him) would have the matter referred to him as the relevant Director; And after saying that this was a conflict of interest as it is a complaint about the Police I was rebuked that only a witness or family member can file such a case and conclusively the Ombudsman herself has written to me to state that the request regarding Noah Donohoe’s death by me would not be within the ‘public interest’ threshold that she has applied but not sufficiently outlined. 

I am asking you to do something, those who care about this kid’s and the welfare of other people’s children in society, and that is to bombard the Ombudsman and your MLAs with your emails and calls requesting that this complaint (referenced internally as my name – Donal Lavery) be looked into thoroughly and urgently, but most important of all – within the “public interest” clause. 

Below you will see the final “nail in the coffin” short of legal action against them by way of a very lengthy Judicial Review, that they have served on me. Such a well lawyered, ‘tarted up’ insult has never before been foisted upon the people of this city in any matters concerning the life and death of a child. It is a ‘cancer’ masquerading as ‘respectability’. The real question is, can the Minister of Justice actually stand over this and say this is fair or equitable when the Ombudsman’s office is funded by her (and seems to focus more on decoration than declaration)? Can our Government continue to hold confidence in the current mechanisms to ensure police accountability? 

If necessary, people should exercise their democratic right via their MLAs to sack the Police Ombudsman and replace her with someone like Nuala O’Loan, who I believe rolled up her sleeves and produced results in some very nefarious cases. This is now an international affair whereby people are discussing the matter across the Atlantic and afar. Show the world that while some countries tolerate the disappearance and death of children, the people in this part of Ireland will suffer no such injustice! 


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