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Watchdog backs officers over 'bogus' Facebook profile which 'put family at risk'

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The victim of the hoax complained officers had not properly investigated the matter.

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(Credit: Stephen Barnes)

The Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland has found officers did properly investigate a bogus Facebook page which a man claimed put his family at risk.

The finding comes despite the case failing to land a prosecution due to a lack of available evidence.

Last year the man contacted the Police Service of Northern Ireland after a fake Facebook profile was created in his name which contained photos, information about his family and his home address.

He said allegations posted on the page could put his family at risk.

When the following investigation failed to result in prosecution for the person responsible he complained to the Ombudsman’s office alleging officers had failed to properly investigate the incident.

However, after examining inquiries made by the force, a Police Ombudsman investigator found “no evidence” of misconduct by officers involved.

She found officers had progressed all reasonable lines of enquiry and the Public Prosecution Service had not found any gaps in the file provided by the force.

PSNI officers were able to trace the IP address used to upload the information but a number of people had access to it and they were unable to ascertain which of them had published the information.

A spokesman for the PONI said: “There was an absence of clear evidence to identify the offender and the PPS could not be satisfied that there was a reasonable prospect of conviction.

“They therefore directed ‘no prosecution’, but this was not due to any issues with the police investigation.” 

View on Police Oracle

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