26-year-old cautioned and has apologised to grieving family
A man who made a sick video mocking the death of Noah Donohoe has had the charge against him dropped.
Jamie Shaw was facing a single count of improper use of a public communications network at Belfast Magistrates’ Court.
The 26-year-old was charged after he posted the clip on video sharing site Snapchat on June 25, four days after Noah was last seen.
In it, a topless Shaw made disgusting remarks about the 14-year-old St Malachy’s College pupil, whose body had not been recovered at the time of the video.
Shaw, who is also a former pupil at the north Belfast grammar school, was brought back before the court on Thursday where the charge was withdrawn and replaced with a caution.
His solicitor Denis Moloney told Deputy District Judge Laura Ivers: “I would like to pay tribute to the Public Prosecution Service, the assisting director of the PPS, the directing officer, the medical team who provided reports, on behalf of the defendant and his whole family.
“He has made an abject and sincere apology for any pain and hurt caused as a result of this matter.
“A full apology has been communicated to the family who have been hurt.
“It takes a big man to own up but it takes an even bigger person, Fiona Donohoe, for the gracious and magnanimous way she has accepted this.”
Mr Moloney added: “He can now draw a line in the sand and move on with his life.”
Shaw, of Fortwilliam Park in north Belfast, attended the Laganside Courts complex but did not enter the courtroom for the hearing.
It’s understood he previously worked in a popular Belfast nightclub.
The clip which prompted the prosecution was shared on Twitter by a man who said he knows Shaw with the caption: “Can’t believe I know this guy.”
It was viewed tens of thousands of times and attracted almost universal condemnation and disgust.
A screenshot of what appeared to be Shaw apologising in a Facebook post was also shared in which he said he “f****d up big time” and that it was “stupid, impulsive behaviour”.
He wrote: “I wholeheartedly apologise for any Snapchats I’ve put up and the offence I’ve caused everyone, feel ashamed of myself.”
Last week, Fiona Donohoe said on social media that she would not abandon her search for an explanation of the events surrounding her son’s tragic death.
“Until factual evidence is found to say my Noah knew of that storm drain on Northwood Road, I will keep asking for answers,” she tweeted.
“Until factual evidence is found how my Noah came to be in a state of undress, I will keep asking for answers.”
Comments and speculation about Noah’s disappearance have been slammed by both police and the coroner investigating his death, Joe McCrisken.
His body was recovered from a storm drain near the Shore Road in north Belfast but there has been no explanation found for how he knew of the existence of the drain.
Last month Mr McCrisken, who branded some of the social media posts as “inaccurate, baseless and potentially criminal”.
At a preliminary hearing into Noah’s death he said: “At present there is no evidence linking Noah’s death to the death of any other individual or with an attack on any other individual or individuals in that area or in close proximity to Northwood Road.
“There is no evidence at present to suggest that any other person was involved in Noah’s disappearance and death,” he added.
Post mortem results showed that Noah died from drowning and there were no signs of foul play.
During the second preliminary hearing into Noah’s death, Mr McCrisken said: “I have examined the drain cover, as have police officers, and it seems entirely possible for Noah to have been able to lift that cover and enter the drain system at that location.”
A further preliminary hearing of the inquest is due to take place on November 2.
BBC Northern Ireland reported that the storm drain in which his body was found was inspected a week before he disappeared according to a letter from the Department for Infrastructure seen by the corporation.
However, the access hatch was left unlocked with a padlock being added after his disappearance.
Sunday Life revealed last month that the man who found Noah’s missing bag and laptop sobbed when he was told by police it belonged to the tragic lad.
The 33-year-old, who at no point was questioned as a suspect in the investigation, is a recovering heroin addict and found the items near the Yorkgate shopping centre in north Belfast shortly after Noah went missing.
Meanwhile, the group My Noah, set up by Fiona Donohoe, has attracted almost 80,000 members.
In the area of north Belfast near his school, banners have been erected declaring their support for Fiona’s quest to find an explanation for her son’s death.