Family await news on charges relating to suspected cyberbullying death

The family of a teenager who took his own life after incidents of suspected cyberbulling continue their wait for answers four years after his death.

Darren Hughes Gibson (17) was found 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. Next week, his family will mark the fourth anniversary of his death.

At a brief inquest hearing at Dublin Coroner’s court, family members were told they may have to wait up to six months for a decision as to whether charges will be brought.

Inspector Liam Casey said the Director of Public Prosecutions is examining a Garda file but no decision on whether charges will be brought has been received. Insp Casey sought a six month adjournment of the inquest under Section 25 of the Coroner’s Act.

“I believe a six month adjournment is more appropriate to ensure we have directions received. We may or may not have a decision within the next three months,” Insp Casey said.

The file Gardai submitted to the DPP was described as ‘substantial.’ It contains 2,500 pages of documents obtained from Facebook through mutual assistance between Irish and US authorities.

Family await news on charges relating to suspected cyberbullying death

Det Insp Kieran Holohan of Balbriggan Garda Station previously told Dublin Coroner’s Court that the material obtained from Facebook forms a large part of the material submitted to the DPP as part of the Garda file.

“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 at a previous hearing if the file contained any specific information but Gardai said they were unable to answer in court. “It’s a very difficult situation,” Det Insp Holohan replied. “The file consists of all the issues we could generate,” he said.

Former Dublin Coroner Dr Brian Farrell said he was glad the information had been obtained from Facebook and apologized 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,” Elaine Hughes told Dr Farrell in reply.

Ms Hughes claims 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 Gardai. The information provided by Facebook includes messages that were deleted after the teenager’s death and messages that include inferences of harassment and bullying.

Coroner Dr Myra Cullinane said a longer adjournment period was preferable to bringing the family back to court too frequently. The inquest was adjourned until February 2 2017.

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