Bail scandal: probe begins into PSNI

Police Ombudsman, Dr Michael Maguire

Police Ombudsman, Dr Michael Maguire

The Police Ombudsman is to investigate police over its handling of terror suspect Damien McLaughlin’s disappearance whilst out on bail.

It was confirmed on Thursday afternoon, three days after the News Letter revealed that the ombudsman, Dr Michael Maguire, was considering the move.

It is understood that it could be at least several months before the probe is complete.

The investigation itself has been “called in” by the ombudsman.

This is a relatively-rare occurrence.

It means that the ombudsman considers the situation so serious that he is investigating it, even though no-one had made a complaint to him about it.

The vast majority of investigations he launches are down to complaints made by members of the public.

Last year only 14 of the 3,018 potential cases before the ombudsman were “call-ins”.

A statement on Thursday said: “The Police Ombudsman has decided that it is necessary in the public interest to conduct an investigation to establish whether there were any failings in police conduct or in policing systems in the management of Mr McLaughlin’s bail conditions.

“We are now beginning the process of securing and examining relevant evidence, including police records.

“A report on the findings of the investigation will be published in due course.”

For details of McLaughlin, the charges he faces disappearance, see this link.
More to follow.