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Man who ran Facebook paedophile name and shame page avoids harassment conviction

Published 05/08/2015

Joe McCloskey has avoided a conviction for harassing a child abuser
Joe McCloskey has avoided a conviction for harassing a child abuser

A man who ran a Facebook page that named paedophiles has avoided a conviction for harassing one child abuser after agreeing to accept a restraining order.

Prosecutors withdrew the charge facing Joe George McCloskey, 38, after he agreed to the terms of an extensive order preventing him from making contact with the offender or posting about him on social media.

McCloskey, from Anderson Crescent in Limavady, Co Londonderry, operated a Facebook page with the intent of naming and shaming paedophiles.

He appeared in Limavady Magistrates Court where he was set to contest the single count of harassment relating to one of the hundreds of men he referenced on the site.

Negotiations between the prosecution and defence ahead of the hearing resolved the matter.

When the case was called, a prosecutor told district judge Liam McNally: "We are prepared to withdraw the charge on the proviso that the defence and Mr McCloskey consent to a fairly lengthy restraining order preventing any contact between the defendant and complainant."

Judge McNally, who emphasised that a reporting restriction prevented the naming of the complainant, stressed to McCloskey the importance of adhering to the three-year order.

The defendant, who himself has a lengthy criminal record, replied: "I understand it completely."

McCloskey's defence solicitor said his client had already stopped his Facebook campaign.

"He has desisted from his activities on Facebook," he said.

Earlier this year both McCloskey and Facebook were successfully sued in a landmark civil case taken at Belfast High Court by a man named on his page.

The sex offender who took the case was awarded £20,000 in damages.

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