Sunday 20 October 2019

Mother's appeal over son's suicide is delayed

Darren Hughes Gibson
Darren Hughes Gibson

Louise Roseingrave

Gardaí have been asked to clarify the status of an appeal sought by the mother of a teenage victim of alleged cyberbullying.

Elaine Hughes says she posted a letter seeking an appeal of the Director of Public Prosecutions' decision not to bring charges in relation to her 17-year-old son's death.

"I fought this long for Darren, I won't stop fighting," Ms Hughes said.

Her son Darren was found dead in Balbriggan, north Dublin on August 23, 2012.

He had been reported missing by his mother after he failed to return home the previous night.

Ms Hughes said she wrote the letter following Garda instructions after she was informed by Coroner Dr Myra Cullinane at Dublin Coroner's Court on January 18 last that she could appeal the decision.

"But for the coroner I would not have known. I was told to put my request in writing and post it to the superintendent at Balbriggan garda station, which I did the same day," Ms Hughes said.

Garda Derek D'Alton told the latest inquest hearing into Darren's death he did not know whether the letter was received. He said Superintendent Noel Carolan was not available to attend the inquest.

"The normal procedure is that a letter would be handed into the front desk," the garda said, adding that there is a 28-day period during which a DPP's decision can be appealed and that date had now passed.

"I was only informed of the DPP's decision a few days before the last hearing. I wasn't even told I could appeal the decision until I was advised by the coroner," Ms Hughes said. "Darren was 17, he was a child, he was under my care."

Coroner Dr Crona Gallagher asked the Garda to clarify "as a matter of urgency" the status of the letter posted by Ms Hughes seeking an appeal of the DPP's decision. Ms Hughes said she posted the letter on January 18.

"I'm not prepared to hear this inquest when it's not clear if Superintendent Carolan received the letter.

"We need to clarify the sequence of events in relation to the letter in question as a matter of urgency," the coroner said.

"We cannot go ahead while there is a possibility there may be some fresh appeal open to you," Dr Gallagher told Ms Hughes.

Irish Independent

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