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PSNI criticised over handling of serious sectarian assaultPSNI criticised over handling of serious sectarian assault
Tuesday, 8th August 2006

The North's Police Ombudsman has concluded that investigative errors and a lack of police officers in Larne, Co Antrim, led to significant failings in an attempted murder inquiry.

In a report out today, Nuala O'Loan says only seven police officers were on duty in October 2002 when a local man was assaulted in the town.

Gerald McRandal suffered serious injuries in the sectarian assault.

The trial of two men charged with his attempted murder collapsed after eight witnesses withdrew evidence and a police officer failed to disclose an unofficial notebook.

Ms O'Loan says the initial police response to the crime was inadequate, in particular the failure to cordon off the scene, rendering any evidence virtually worthless.

She has recommended disciplinary action against two police officers, as well as a series of measures to prevent such failures being repeated.

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