The Noah Donohoe Scandal: A Cover-up or Mess-up? by Donal Lavery

“Often, that which is desirable is not obtainable and that which is obtainable is not desirable.” – Unknown

“Journalism is what maintains democracy.” – Andrew Vachss 

“The book they try to ban always becomes a bestseller.” – George Galloway 

I recently turned 29 years old, but on Wednesday Noah Peter Donohoe would have turned 15 years of age. After roughly another several years of schooling, he would have gone on to study Medicine and qualify as a Doctor within the National Health Service. In doing so, he would have saved lives and enhanced well-being, in a society desperately short of such front-line workers. But all of that has been tragically taken away from him and his family. A promising light has been quenched, much too soon and much too questionably (See Reference 16). It is the duty and moral obligation of you all, as his fellow citizens (and particularly parents out there), to honour his life and determine once and for all in your hearts and minds how it ended – and how to prevent this heart-breaking injustice ever happening to any family again. 

After all, Noah died in North Belfast, where the sitting MP is John Finucane – the son of the murdered human rights lawyer, Patrick Finucane (who attended Noah’s alma mater and also died in North Belfast). What did the murder of Patrick Finucane and Rosemary Nelson have in common? They were attacks on our very system of justice and people’s right to have proper legal representation within the bounds of the law (See Reference 17). What did the arrest of Trevor Birney and Barry McCaffrey have in common with the murder of Lyra McKee? (See Reference 3). They were both attacks on people’s right for the public to know what the police and authorities do in their name, with their resources, including in both cases the exposure of Police-organised murders and appalling state criminality. What did the bigoted assault of former Police Ombudsman, Nuala O’Loan’s son (also in North Belfast) (See Reference 7), and the ‘bugging’ of the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission’s office by some Southern Police and state operatives (See Reference 7)  have in common? They were both an attack on the Irish public’s right to regulate the people tasked with upholding law and order – because with power, there has to be responsibility (and also, accountability). 

Now, the previous Police Ombudsman, Dr Michael Maguire CBE, stated his view that regulating the police in the North of Ireland was like “trench warfare” (See Reference 5). That’s a powerful statement coming from someone who for seven years had access and was privy to some of the deepest and darkest state controversies in the land. But it is appropriate and I will explain why. 

The Guardian journalist, Nigel Green, revealed that research based largely on statistics shows that 99% of crime is not even disclosed to the media, let alone to the public at large. Of the 1% that does manage to be wrestled from the civic authorities, it is usually subject to ‘disinformation’ and restraints (See Reference 2). One such restraint is the fact that Freedom of Information Requests are routinely rejected by the state on grounds of “cost”. This has been the circumstance with myself in trying to get answers from the PSNI about their investigation, or lack thereof (to be honest), into Noah’s death. But what I did manage to find out, (via data I hold and which you can request from them, too) is that there are 12 former Police personnel currently working in the Office of the Police Ombudsman, who, as the statutory regulatory organisation, have steadfastly refused to look into the case. (See Attachments). 

I wrote to the Ombudsman’s Office again, just several days ago, asking her to reconsider their decision not to investigate the PSNI handling of the matter within the ‘public interest’ clause of the Northern Ireland Act (1998) on the basis that a member of the Judiciary, Judge Magill, recently refused bail to the man charged with theft of Noah’s laptop on the basis that it was within the ‘public interest’ as he would be ‘safe’ in custody. The ‘public interest’ clause was considered fully by the good Judge. So, the double standard which has emerged with the Ombudsman is that it is within the ‘public interest’ under our system of “justice” to ensure the protection of someone in custody (and I believe that’s where he should be), who appears to have been in possession of Noah’s rucksack but that it is ‘not’ within the ‘public interest’ to probe the Police over their mishandling of the case? Is this seriously acceptable to those who sit on the Policing Board? Is it seriously acceptable to those MLAs who have it within their power to summon the Police Ombudsman before a live Committee and question her on her vague reasoning for this decision? Is it acceptable to you, given that each MLA is an employee with thousands of employers within the electorate? (See References 10 & 11). The most important and revealing thing in this whole murky affair is this – the Minister for Infrastructure made clear in documentation released that the storm-drain at Northwood Road was first inspected on 18/06/2020, where it was found that a padlock was required for the metallic hatch which secures it. Noah went missing on 21/06/2020. Personnel from the Department of Infrastructure attended in full to that particular storm-drain on 24/06/2020 to facilitate the requisite secure padlock and at no point did they report Noah’s body being there despite him already having been missing for three days by that point (See Reference 1). Stemming from this, you are being asked to believe that a 14 year old school-boy who had already been missing for three days managed to somehow break open that newly padlocked storm-drain and simply ‘drown’ as part of what one ‘Loyalist’/‘Unionist’ Pastor (Brian Madden) termed “a tragic accident” (See Reference 12 and 13). This is absolutely shocking and does not make sense in the slightest when you consider that the CCTV shown at the Inquest of Noah’s journey on 21/06/2020 showed him making his way to this Loyalist area but yet his body could not have been in that location until at least after the final securing of the storm-drain by padlock on 24/06/2020 as it would have been immediately spotted by the staff from the Department of Infrastructure during their attendances. Keep in mind too, Ms Karen Crooks informed the media that her children played around the same storm-drain but then also claimed it was a hazard – I don’t know about you, as the reader, but I would not allow my prospective children to play around any storm-drain and if I thought it hazardous I would be a serial irritant to the civic authorities to have it urgently secured (See Reference 14). 

When you couple this along with the statement made by Fiona Donohoe over social media that she was told at the Inquest that Noah’s Northface jacket was apparently seen in Northwood Road by a local witness in that area, yet now it emerges that an anonymous caller tipped the PSNI off four days after Noah went missing (and one day after the storm-drain was padlocked) that the jacket, the laptop, school books and rucksack, were all in the possession of the accused and others, leading to a search of his home on the 25/06/2020. All of this makes for shocking reading and a nightmare which the PSNI have failed to address. They are treating it as a ‘health and safety’ issue when none of this adds up.

By way of the Inquest, the author Deric Henderson wrote at length about how the “killer dentist” Colin Howell and his mistress, Hazel Buchanan, murdered both their spouses and perverted the course of justice so that that specific Inquest into their spouses joint deaths (together) was to conclude that they died by “suicide”, only to find out some years later by admission of Colin Howell himself that it was in fact a double murder. Howell was convicted of murder in December 2010 and Stewart in March 2011. What it showed beyond reasonable doubt is that many people simply dismiss what isn’t blatantly in front of them! (See Reference 15). Having filed the initial complaint to the Police Ombudsman, which now has the backing of in excess of 55,000 signatures (a greater majority than any MP here), I am now in the process of writing a book on all this (“The Noah Donohoe Scandal: A Persecution, Not A Prosecution”). The theory underlying the book is that the police, being opposed to transparency (full stop) as an institution and intimidating their own officers (See Reference 4)  appear to have failed to even conduct a proper criminal investigation into Noah’s death as a means of wearing down the family via delays/indecision and prolonging their suffering in the hope that they, like so many other bereaved relatives in Northern Ireland, will simply give up hope of acquiring the fullest possible answers and accountability under the weight of grief and disillusionment. This could be, like in other cases, in order to ‘protect’ those who might have been involved in such an upsetting occurrence. Or it could be that they know full well they haven’t carried out a proper investigation from day one given all these deplorable anomalies and are afraid of the repercussions this will have politically and publicly, by way of policing reforms being imposed on them and greater legal powers granted to the Ombudsman, as sought prior to this. Essentially, they are out to preserve the ‘status quo’, as opposed to public confidence in policing and justice (See Reference 6). One positive point I will conclude with is, thank God there are at least some good people, as  honourable and fundamentally decent, as Judge Magill in positions of authority where this case is involved (See Attachments).

-In the end, you have the democratic right to ‘hire and fire’ all of these people who you salary via your taxes, so make the most of it and bombard your elected representatives to address these matters, openly and transparently. After all, who is afraid of honesty? 

(Everything I have cited above is referenced fully below via links, images and screen-shots, to counter any allegation that this is idle “speculation” or a “conspiracy theory” – And just for clarity, the book I am writing, as an impartial author, has been written for the benefit of everyone within the wider public interest. I am not the family spokesperson or solicitor – direct all such legal queries to KRW Law). 

References 

1 – https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.bbc.co.uk/news/amp/uk-northern-ireland-54095250

2 – https://amp.theguardian.com/media/2011/aug/07/police-journalists-crime-research

3 – https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/psni-apologises-to-journalists-trevor-birney-and-barry-mccaffrey-1.4306218%3fmode=amp

4 – https://www.irishnews.com/news/northernirelandnews/2016/07/04/news/former-ruc-man-believes-he-could-be-killed-by-state-agents-589070/

5 – https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.irishtimes.com/news/crime-and-law/michael-maguire-the-past-is-not-going-away-in-northern-ireland-1.4134780%3fmode=amp

6 – https://www.irishnews.com/opinion/leadingarticle/2020/08/18/news/police-ombudsman-has-strong-case-for-new-powers-2038613/

7 – https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.irishexaminer.com/news/arid-20258634.html%3ftype=amp

8 – http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/4794397.stm

9 – https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.bbc.co.uk/news/amp/uk-northern-ireland-54095250

10 – https://www.itv.com/news/utv/2020-11-12/bail-refused-for-man-accused-of-noah-donohoe-laptop-theft

11 – https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.belfastlive.co.uk/news/belfast-news/noah-donohoe-man-accused-stealing-19269282.amp

12 – https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.irishtimes.com/news/uda-feud-averted-as-dissidents-quit-belfast-1.792882%3fmode=amp

13 – https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.bbc.com/news/amp/uk-northern-ireland-54095255

14 – https://www.irishnews.com/news/northernirelandnews/2020/06/30/news/calls-for-storm-drain-safety-after-noah-donohoe-tragedy-1990106/

15 – https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/new-inquest-for-victims-of-colin-howell-and-his-lover-hazel-stewart-28607661.html

16 – https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.newsletter.co.uk/news/people/my-son-died-we-have-no-answers-we-have-nothing-noah-donohoes-heartbroken-mother-fiona-appeals-public-help-her-find-answers-questions-she-has-about-her-sons-disappearance-and-death-2940415%3famp

17 – https://www.patfinucanecentre.org/collusion/interview-relatives-rosemary-nelson

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