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Journalist to take legal action against PSNI over its ‘failure to progress’ probe into threats

Neonazi organisation Combat 18 told Patricia Devlin they would rape her son

A JOURNALIST is warning head the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) to expect legal action the over its failure to properly investigate threats made against her and her newborn son, apparently by a neonazi group.

Patricia Devlin has sent a pre-action protocol letter demanding that Chief Constable Simon Byrne provide assurances that his officers will conduct an immediate and effective investigation into violent threats made against her and her son.

In a statement she said that an application for a judicial review into the PSNI’s actions would be made to the High Court unless such assurances are provided by December 10.

Ms Devlin said that she received a threat of rape against her newborn son via direct message to her personal Facebook account.

It was signed with the name Combat 18, a neonazi terror group, which in the past has had links to loyalist paramilitaries.

Ms Devlin has said that the PSNI has “failed to progress its investigation,” and liaise effectively with Police Scotland, where the alleged offender is believed to be living, or to inform her of developments.

The Sunday World journalist is being supported by Amnesty International and the National Union of Journalists.

Ms Devlin’s solicitor Kevin Winters said that “no progress” appears to have been made in the police investigation.

“The violent threat to our client and her baby son, posted via social media, must be subject to an immediate, effective investigation by the PSNI,” he said.

“No progress appears to have been made since Patricia Devlin reported the threat; the PSNI has been inadequate in its responsibilities towards her and her family — to secure their safety and keep them informed of progress.

“Judicial review will be applied for should the assurance requested by our client not be forthcoming.”

Amnesty International UK’s Northern Ireland director Patrick Corrigan said: “It is incredible that Patricia Devlin is having to resort to legal action to ensure a proper investigation by the PSNI into threats against her and her family.

“Amnesty International stands by her and other journalists in Northern Ireland who face a rising climate of threat and intimidation.”

NUJ assistant general secretary Seamus Dooley added: “No-one should be allowed to threaten journalists with impunity.”

Last month, Ms Devlin lodged a complaint with the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland over the PSNI investigation.

The PSNI has been contacted for comment.

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