Northern Ireland

Third complaint filed with Police Ombudsman over claims PSNI source leaked Noah Donohoe material to social media

FIONA Donohoe, the mother of the late schoolboy Noah, has filed a third complaint with the Police Ombudsman, claiming sensitive material linked to the case was leaked to social media.

The complaint was filed last week ahead of the hearing on whether a public interest immunity (PII) certificate should be granted to the PSNI.

At the hearing, Ms Donohoe’s counsel, Brenda Campbell, noted the “juxtaposition” between the force’s attempt to stop the disclosure of certain information and the leaks from what the family believes is from someone close to the investigation into Noah’s death.

“Someone is taking a much more liberal view disclosing to the public what is not even being disclosed to us by the coroner’s service,” Ms Campbell said.

Mr Justice Michael Humphreys expressed his “very grave concern” over the possibility a serving police officer may be leaking material.

Ms Donohoe has filed two previous complaints with the Police Ombudsman, alleging broader failures in the investigation into Noah’s disappearance and death

Donal Lunny, counsel for the PSNI, said the force received details of the complaint on Wednesday and questioned whether it was relevant to any decision on the granting of a PII certificate.

He added: “The PSNI is not aware of any leak or unauthorised disclosure of any undisclosed material."

Social media platforms, including Twitter and Facebook, were referred to several times during the more than two hour long hearing at Court Number 3 in Laganside.

There has been a “very significant volume of rumour…suspicion”, much of it “harmful and ill-founded,” Ms Campbell said, adding that Noah’s mother has no interest in “igniting…deeply painful and very unhelpful” claims and comments on social media.

Mr Justice Humphreys added: “It is hard to piece together…it seems that some of them are malicious….the purpose only to cause distress and harm and divert attention from proper investigative issues.”

Conspiracy theories linking the death of the 14-year-old St Malachy's College student to loyalists or police agents have circulated online.

Ms Donohoe two weeks ago posted on Twitter: "Never once have I said Noah was murdered.”