Northern Ireland news


PSNI does not confirm if more than 30 people notified of threats

Republican Deen Fennell

THE PSNI has not confirmed if it notified more than 30 people that threats had been made against them.

Concerns were raised this month after it was revealed that police did not warn north Belfast republican Dee Fennell and his wife, an NHS nurse, of a suspected loyalist threat.

It has now emerged that 32 people in total were threatened in a call placed from a telephone box to the PSNI earlier this year.

Details emerged in a letter from the Crown Solicitor's Office (CSO) to Mr Fennell’s legal representative Gavin Booth, of Phoenix Law, last week.

Officials confirm the caller was later detected and charged with a telecommunications offence.

A spokesman for the PSNI last night said that a 53-year-old man has been charged “with improper use of public communications network”.

He was due to appear in Belfast Magistrates Court earlier this year.

The PSNI was also asked to confirm if those threatened have been notified.

A spokeswoman said: "We do not discuss the security of individuals and no inference should be drawn from this.

"However, we want to reassure the public that we will take the appropriate action when made aware of anything that may put an individual at risk."

In the CSO letter, an official claimed the threat against Mr Fennell "was deemed to be low risk given, inter alia, an assessment of the credibility around the threat and the absence of corroboration of the threat".

Mr Fennell, who recently left republican political group Saoradh, found out about the threat when the Housing Executive contacted the police earlier this year after his house was attacked and he requested a move.

The CSO said it has "subsequently been discovered that NIHE was mistakenly told that the applicant (Mr Fennell) had received a TM1 in March 2021".

A TM1 form is issued by police when it is believed someone's life is under threat.

Mr Booth said the entire episode raises concerns.

Gavin Booth,Phoenix Law Picture by Hugh Russell.

"We are concerned to learn that PSNI so far have not told 32 people including our client that a threat was made on their lives," he said.

"Had it not been for legal action our client would still be oblivious to the fact that our client has been living under threat and that PSNI have arrested and charged a person."

Mr Booth said his client and the other 31 "have a right to know that a threat has been made on their lives".

"So far PSNI have failed to inform our client and these other persons who could have taken steps to ensure their own safety had they of known," he added.

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