Sunday 26 January 2020

DPP examines 2,500 Facebook files as mum says tragic teen bullied

Darren Hughes Gibson
Darren Hughes Gibson

Louise Roseingrave

The Director of Public Prosecutions is examining a "substantial file" in relation to the death of a teenager whose mother believes was cyberbullied.

Darren Hughes Gibson (17) was found dead at the Stephenstown Industrial Estate in Balbriggan, north country Dublin, on August 23, 2012.

He had been reported missing by his mother, Elaine Hughes after he failed to return to the family home at New Haven Bay the previous night.

The file that gardaí submitted to the DPP contains 2,500 pages of documents obtained from Facebook through mutual assistance between Irish and US authorities.

Det Insp Kieran Holohan of Balbriggan Garda Station told Dublin Coroner's Court that "a substantial file has been submitted to the DPP".

"The material obtained from Facebook in the US forms part of the file and the issue is now with the DPP," Det Insp Holohan said.

Elaine Hughes asked a number of questions relating to the file. "What kind of file has gone in? Is there any specifics in it?" she asked.

"It's a very difficult situation," Det Insp Holohan replied. "The file consists of all the issues we could generate," he said.

The family met privately with gardaí after the hearing.

Coroner Dr Brian Farrell said he was glad the information had been obtained from Facebook, and apologised to Ms Hughes for the ongoing delay.

"You have always been very helpful, I don't mind about the delay, I have nothing but time," she replied.

At a previous inquest last January, Ms Hughes called on gardaí to bring charges in relation to her son's death. She said her son had been bullied throughout his life for the colour of his skin and because he wore a hearing aid.

Facebook made more than 2,500 pages of messages sent to and from Darren's account available to gardaí. The information provided by Facebook includes messages that were deleted after the teenager's death and messages that include inferences of harassment and bullying.

Dr Farrell adjourned the inquest until August 16. It's expected a decision from the DPP will be forthcoming before the next hearing.

Irish Independent

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