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Updates- PIIO: Collusion is no illusion 2022

***Update*** One of the first actions of the new British Secretary of State for “Northern Ireland” Shailesh Vera has been to sign off on a public immunity order before the inquest into the death of Noah Donohoe. KRW Law who are representing the Donohue family have stated it is very unusual and the political decision by this British Secretary of State has outraged the family, campaigners and supporters of justice for the Donohue family. The following article was previously published giving background to public immunity orders and to the death of 12 year old Noah Donohoe. We republish this once again in the interests of drawing attention to this case once more. It is essential for all those who believe in human rights and justice, regardless of background to support the Donohoe family in their quest for truth and justice.

Irish people are no stranger to so-called British Justice, in every generation, the British and Freestate have used ‘special powers’ to cover up their sinister activities, at various times they have employed the use of Secret Police, Secret courts and secret evidence, many believe these measures are only used against political activists, however, the recent and notable case of Noah Donohue exposes the extent these measures are used against the Irish people as a whole and the flippant use of them by the State to cover up anything that could raise questions within the public sphere. The attempts to impose a Public Immunity interest order in the case of a suspected murdered 14-year-old boy in Belfast is the latest attempt, so what is a Public immunity interest order?

A public immunity interest order (PIIO), previously known as Crown privilege is “an objection to disclosure and/or inspection of evidence on the grounds that production of the document(s) would be injurious to the public interest.”

The objection on the grounds of PII differs from other forms of ‘privilege’ in that “the objection may encompass the very disclosure of the existence of documents, as well as their production. Moreover, it is an objection for the protection of the public interest (rather than the protection of any individual litigant’s privilege per se) (Science Research Council v Nasse).”

In the six occupied counties of Ireland PIIO is normally reserved for paramilitary investigations to protect police methodologies or in” the public interest”.

Like the use of “secret evidence” in the six counties and the use of privilege in the juryless Special Courts in the 26 counties where secret evidence tends to consist of intelligence data which the Police themselves are often keen to rightly point out does not necessarily constitute evidence (‘intelligence’ can effectively be used as ‘evidence’ to incarcerate political activists) PIIO’s are there to protect the state, the interests of the state and used against enemies of the state.

On the 21st June 2020 Noah Donohue a mixed race 14-year-old from a nationalist background left his home in the Ormeau Road area on his bike and told his mother, Fiona he was going to meet friends at Cavehill Country Park and had arranged to check in with her later that evening.

When he failed to call as arranged, she became concerned.

Ms Donohue then contacted the PSNI/RUC and a missing person appeal was launched.

Over the following days, volunteers helped out in the search effort.

Investigations found that the teen had last been seen in the area of the Shore Road at around 6 pm.

A CCTV camera at a home in the Northwood Road area recorded what is believed to be the last confirmed sighting of the schoolboy on his bike.

Two eyewitnesses in a staunch loyalist area said they had seen a young boy naked, cycling a bike in the area but thought it was a “Father’s day prank”. Not a known tradition in Ireland or elsewhere.

At one point, police said they believed the young man had fallen from his bike in the North Queen Street area and suffered a head injury which may have caused him to act out of character. How the PSNI/RUC would know this is not ascertained.

Noah’s bike was later found as well as his mobile. His green backpack, which contained his laptop was also later recovered.

A man was later convicted in connection with finding and stealing the rucksack and computer.

His khaki green North Face coat and grey sweat shorts have never been recovered.

Six days after going missing, Noah’s body was found by specialist searchers 950 metres inside a storm drain close to the M2 on June 27.

A post-mortem examination determined the teenager had died as a result of drowning and did not suffer any serious head injury.

Last year, at a pre-inquest hearing, Coroner Joe McCrisken said there was no evidence Noah was attacked before his disappearance but stressed that investigations were ongoing.

Speculation persists however that the young man was attacked by an individual along his journey.

Even at the beginning of the disappearance of Noah, the investigation was stifled, disrupted and proper procedure not followed.

 The North of Ireland is saturated with CCTV and is one of the most spied on communities in Europe yet there is a gap or “blind spot” in relation to Noah’s case.

There has been no water sample taken from the area Noah was found and has not been correlated to the water that was found in his lungs.

There has been no forensic investigation into Noah’s case. The laptop and house where his laptop was found were never forensically investigated or fingerprints sought.

The person found with Noah’s laptop in their possession was not interviewed while Noah was still missing.

There was no overtime authorised even though £32 million was issued that year and the PSNI/RUC called off a search party in an urban, built-up area because it was raining.

It has since been revealed that the authorities are asking a PIIO in relation to the death of Noah Donohue. Why would a PIIO be needed in the investigation of the death of 14-year-old mixed-race child from a nationalist background? As stated previously a PIIO is normally reserved for offences relating to paramilitaries and the “public interest”.

Noah went missing and his body was found in the Summer of 2020 when the Black Lives Matter movement became a worldwide phenomenon and brought the issue of racism in the US and worldwide to the centre stage. It was also at a time of heightening tension in the North of Ireland with the marching season in full effect when Protestant/loyalist triumphalism is at its peak and concerns about the political instability that Brexit and the “Northern Ireland protocol” could possibly bring.

Were loyalist paramilitaries involved in the murder and/or disappearance of Noah’s body? It has since been stated that the PSNI/RUC approached local loyalist paramilitaries in North Belfast that if Noahs body was not recovered that they would come down on loyalist paramilitary criminality and interests. In a number of days, Noah’s body was discovered.

Do the PSNI/RUC want to deny Noah’s mother and family and supporters justice in order to protect loyalist paramilitaries? Are the PSNI/RUC still working hand in glove with loyalist paramilitaries?

Have the PSNI/RUC denied justice and covered up the murder of a 14-year-old mixed-race nationalist boy during marching season and international BLM protests in order to protect the “public interest”?

On the back of a recent Podcast in which Fiona Donohue, the mother of Noah has given, public interest has increased once again in the sequence of events surrounding the death of Noah. To date, his family have not received any adequate answers and attempts by the British state to impose a PIIO on this case only serves to confirm suspicions that the British state has something to hide.

Since January 2022, two British police ombudsman reports have confirmed British state collusion with loyalist paramilitaries in decades past. We have been told this is in the past and that the PSNI/RUC is a reformed entity and straight broker. The question must be asked if collusion no longer exists, and the police have nothing to hide, why then are the British state in Ireland in 2022 seeking to legally hide information once more through the courts to deny justice to Irish families?

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