Belfast Telegraph

Facebook threat a joke, court told

A man accused of threatening to post footage of him having sex with his ex-partner on Facebook claimed to have made the recording as a prank, the High Court has heard.

A judge was also told the allegations cannot be proven because two unidentified video clips have been deleted from his mobile phone.

As a long-term injunction was imposed to stop the man publishing any existing recordings, Mr Justice Deeny also expressed concern about legal aid being spent on the case.

Last month the plaintiff, a classroom assistant who cannot be identified, secured a temporary order over claims that her former partner threatened to post footage on the social networking site and show it to her school bosses and pupils.

The pair, who broke up after a long-term relationship, met again in July and had consensual sex when she was drunk, the court heard.

Five days later she discovered that he claimed to have recorded a 17-minute clip of this on his phone, according to her account.

She alleged that he showed it to her sister's boyfriend and planned to disclose it to her employers.

It was claimed that he also threatened to sit outside the school where she worked and send footage to pupils via bluetooth.

The man further issued a threat to put clips on Facebook, she alleged.

He denies making the threats or that any such video ever existed.

As part of the case the man handed over two mobile phones for expert forensic analysis.

The court was told that the examination had found two files had been removed, although it was impossible to say when.

The man's barrister, Keith Gibson, said: "That might provide some succour to the applicant, but the problem is it doesn't take the applicant anywhere because it is simply not proof."

During the hearing the boyfriend of the woman's sister gave evidence to deny being shown any recording.

He said the defendant told him the plaintiff believed he had footage of them having sex.

"He thought it was funny, it was a wind-up," he told the court.

The witness said he lied to his own girlfriend about its alleged existence to strengthen the ruse.

"At the time it was a prank, I didn't see any harm in it," he said.

Asked by Peter Girvan, counsel for the plaintiff, if he thought it was funny to pretend to have a sex video and threaten to disclose it to others, he replied that he was unaware of that.

Adjourning the case generally on the basis that the defendant agreed to abide by the injunction, Mr Justice Deeny warned "there may be consequences in costs" if it is brought back to court unnecessarily.

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