A police officer who failed to enforce bail conditions of an Armagh man accused of harassing his neighbour “failed in their duty”, a Police Ombudsman’s report has found.
An Armagh resident, whom we have not named, reached out to this publication having felt there was “nowhere else to turn to” despite repeated calls to the PSNI.
The man told Armagh I that he has been “tortured by a neighbour for over a year now”. The neighbour was convicted of criminal damage to this person’s home and has since been charged with harassment and a hate crime.
One of the court imposed bail conditions prohibits the defendant from coming within 100-metres of the complainant, however, an alleged breach of these conditions has been reported to police on at least five separate occasions.
The breaches and apparent lack of action were reported to the Police Ombudsman, who carried out an investigation into the complaints.
In a letter to the complainant, the Police Ombudsman’s office responded: “The Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland obtained all relevant police documentation in respect of this incident, which was subsequently examined and reviewed. The officer concerned was issued with formal notification of the complaint and cautioned. They chose not to make a formal reply.
“Upon review of police documentation, along with the complaint details submitted by yourself, it was identified that the officer had been asked by her supervisor to apply for amended bail conditions in this case with the Court.
“The officer’s supervisor was contacted and he confirmed this had been a failing by the officer. The police documents also support the officer has also failed to update you.
“It has been confirmed with the supervisor that action has been taken in relation to the officer’s failings and police have taken action in relation to the officer in question regarding their performance.
“Your complaint has therefore been upheld. It is clear the officer in question has failed in their duty. As sanctions have been imposed by police management no further recommendation is required in relation to this matter. This matter has now been closed.”
Since that letter, which was dated October 19, the defendant has since shown up at a neighbouring property.
The most recent incident was reported to police on Thursday, October 26.
A police spokesperson told Armagh I: “Police received a report of a possible breach of bail in the Armagh area yesterday, Thursday, October 26. Enquiries are ongoing.”