Bogus Facebook profile which “put family at risk” was properly investigated

Published Date: 31.05.2017

The Police Ombudsman has cleared police of failing to adequately investigate bogus Facebook posts which a man said had placed his family at risk.

The man contacted police last year after a false Facebook profile was set up in his name, containing his home address, photos and information about his family, as well as allegations which he said could compromise their safety.

However, when the case did not result in the prosecution of those responsible, the man lodged a complaint with the Police Ombudsman’s Office, claiming that police had not conducted a proper investigation.

A Police Ombudsman investigator examined all relevant police documentation, including the file submitted by police to the Public Prosecution Service (PPS).

Police progressed "all reasonable lines of enquiry"

She found that officers had progressed all reasonable lines of enquiry, and noted that the PPS had not identified any gaps in the evidence within the file provided by police.

Officers had traced the internet address used to upload the post, but had also established that a number of people had access to the address. They were unable to identify which of these people had uploaded the information.

The investigator noted: “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.”

The investigator concluded that there was no evidence of misconduct by any of the officers involved in the case.

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