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Revenge porn man avoids prison term

By Paul Higgins

Published 27/04/2016

Probation: Isaac Woods
Probation: Isaac Woods

A man who posted an explicit photograph of his girlfriend online in a case of revenge porn was spared jail yesterday.

Isaac Woods (20) was given a year's probation and 120 hours of community service for "bombarding" the woman with messages before releasing an indecent image of her on Facebook.

Antrim Magistrates Court was told that the defendant gave the woman a "countdown" on February 1 this year, with a text he sent reading: "F*** you - I'm ruining you like you did me, keep an eye on your phone."

At the end of the countdown he posted the image and tagged members of the woman's family in the photograph, which was seen by three people, including two of the victim's aunts.

After he was arrested Woods, from Garden Village, Antrim, fully admitted his behaviour and later pleaded guilty to harassment and using an electronic communication system to send a menacing, obscene of grossly offensive message.

A prosecuting lawyer told the court that the day before the image was posted Woods' now former partner had been too busy to respond to his text messages, of which a large number were sent.

"The messages became more menacing and he started a countdown on them and she told him to stop," said the lawyer. "The conversation continued with the injured party pleading with him to delete the image. While the defendant stated he had deleted it, he continued the threat, saying: 'Your dad's going to f****** see this if you don't hurry up'."

Neil Moore, defending, agreed the offences were "appalling" but said his client was "full of remorse". He also said that while authorities in Britain had passed laws concerning revenge porn, they did not apply here.

He told the court it appeared that something had gone wrong between the childhood sweethearts, and Woods had "unfortunately" taken the view that the blame lay with the victim.

The barrister conceded his client's actions were "horrifying" for the woman, leaving the case "undoubtedly coming close to the custody threshold".

"The image was deleted post-haste and should never have been put up in the first place," he added. "He (Woods) wishes he could turn back the hands of time and not push the button or send the messages."

As well as probation and a community service order, the judge ordered Woods to pay £600 compensation to his victim for his "shocking" behaviour.

"The texts and abuse you sent were bad enough without the picture that you sent to embarrass her in front of the world, never mind her family," he said.

He added, however, that he was "always reluctant" to send a first-time offender to prison.

Allowing Woods six months to pay the compensation, Judge White warned him: "Make sure you pay that because if you don't there will be custody."

He also ordered that during the probation period Woods should complete a respectful relationships programme, which he was in "severe need of".

Belfast Telegraph

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