Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 25 October 2014

Paedophile wins Facebook injunction to shut down 'keep kids safe from predators' page

Judge rules it infringes sex offender's human rights - and yet within hours a second page appears

Just hours after a judge ordered a Facebook page set up to monitor paedophiles to be taken down, a page with an almost identical name has appeared on the social networking site.

A High Court order said that the original page, entitled 'Keeping our Kids Safe From Predators,' must be removed within 72 hours after the judge ruled that some of the content amounted to prima facie harassment of the man, and that it could infringe the convicted sex offender's human rights.

The page had been removed by 4pm yesterday afternoon, but within minutes 'keeping our kids safe from predators 2' appeared on Facebook.

It is not clear whether the creator of the new page is the same as the user that set up the initial one.

One of the earliest posts by the page administrator reads: "Back 2 the start i go everything i shared from the last page is gone grrrrrrrrrrrr :( just not far at all....."

Following the initial order Facebook said they were "considering our next steps in light of the court's judgements".

The offender, who made the original complaint and who cannot be identified, found his photo published on the first page – along with threatening comments - following his release from prison.

He had been previously been given a six year jail term for multiple child sex offences committed over 20 years ago, among them was gross indecency with a child and inciting a child to commit an act of gross indecency.

The man alleged that the content of the page amounted to harassment, misuse of private information and a breach of his right to privacy and freedom from inhuman or degrading treatment.

The court heard he feared being attacked or burnt out of his home.

In a statement to the court the man said the page published the material as an attempt to vilify and stir up hatred against him.

The court also heard that the man was suffering from ill health.

Details of some of the comments posted about the man were disclosed earlier in court, one said: "Put him down like an animal."

Another said: "So the man, or I mean mess of a human being, that's taken this page to court, he must want to be the head paedophile and rule over all sex offenders. He will be like a god to them."

As of 4pm, the replacement page, which had gained 468 'likes' within an hour, did not contain any personal information about specific individuals.

One poster, going under the name True Justice Seekers, shared a picture illustrating a mock-up 'International child molester hunting permit' with the words 'No limit. Kill them all' below it.

Lawyers for Facebook had argued that it was not proportionate to remove a page used by 4,000 people – and that it was not necessary.

In ruling on the case Mr Justice McCloskey said: "Society has dealt with the plaintiff in accordance with the rule of law."

"He has been punished by incarceration and he is subject to substantial daily restrictions on his lifestyle."

And in conclusion he said: "I conclude that the pendulum of the rule of law swings in the plaintiff's favour,

"The order of the court will be that the removal from facebook.com of the page entitled 'Keeping our kids safe from predators'... is to be effected within 72 hours."

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