Northern Ireland news

Protesters gathered in support of family of teenager Noah Donohoe at pre-inquest hearing in Belfast

A large crowd held a protest outside Laganside Court complex yesterday in support of the family of teenager Noah Donohoe.

A LARGE crowd staged a protest outside Laganside Court complex yesterday in support of the family of teenager Noah Donohoe.

The body of the14-year-old was found in a storm drain in north Belfast, six days after he went missing on June 21 2020.

A post mortem examination found he died from drowning.

The St Malachy's College schoolboy disappeared after leaving his home in the Ormeau Road area of south Belfast on his bike to meet friends at Cave Hill.

The disappearance prompted a huge search operation involving hundreds of volunteers from the community in north Belfast and beyond.

His family, led by his mother Fiona, is hoping to secure answers to some of the unanswered questions surrounding his death through the inquest process.

Police have stated from the outset that they believe there was no foul play in the cause of Noah's death.

Ms Donohoe has already lodged a complaint with the Police Ombudsman alleging failings in the way officers investigated her son's disappearance and death.

During a preliminary inquest hearing in December 2021, counsel for the PSNI indicated it would be likely to request a Public Interest Immunity certificate (PII certificate) on what it called a "limited amount" of material in three police evidence folders.

Noah's family and supporters have been demanding to know details of the evidence which could be held back from the inquest.

In the past, the police have used PII certificates to protect the identity of informants.

However, they can also be used more routinely as a way of protecting sensitive details of their own operational methods.

They are commonly applied for, and granted at inquests.

The PSNI has not indicated what its reasons for applying might be.

Dozens of protesters, some holding posters, gathered outside the court yesterday ahead of a planned preliminary inquest hearing, which was later cancelled.

A new date has yet to be set.

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Northern Ireland news