Published Date: 14.05.2012
Seven police officers have been disciplined after a Police Ombudsman investigation found a series of failings in the way the PSNI investigated a serious assault which subsequently claimed the life of a Lisburn man.
Jim Heasley (70) was found unconscious in the Manor Park area of Lisburn in the early hours of 17 October 2010. He never regained consciousness and died as a result of his injuries 12 days later.
A 48-year-old Lisburn man has since been convicted of his manslaughter.
On 25 October 2010 Mr Heasley's family lodged a complaint with the Police Ombudsman's Office after becoming concerned at what they perceived to be a lack of progress in the police investigation.
A subsequent Police Ombudsman investigation concluded that there had been a series of failings in the initial police response, after they were informed that Mr Heasley had been admitted to hospital with serious head injuries.
Assumption that Mr Heasley had fallen rather than been attacked.
The Police Ombudsman found that these failings had stemmed from an apparent assumption by police that Mr Heasley had sustained his injuries in a fall rather than an attack.
The failings noted by the Police Ombudsman included:
* Mr Heasley's injuries were not photographed, nor was his clothing seized for analysis, at the outset of the police investigation.
* There should have been a more robust examination of the incident scene on the night of the attack.
* Police did not properly review all available CCTV evidence until a week after the attack
* The investigation should have been referred to the PSNI's Criminal Investigation Department for advice and guidance at an earlier stage.
A total of seven police officers, including five at supervisory level, have since been disciplined as a result of the Police Ombudsman investigation.