Belfast Telegraph

Angry judge calls revenge porn man 'lowest of low' as he orders arrest

By Paul Higgins

The arrest has been ordered of a man who was convicted of revenge porn last month.

The bench warrant was issued for Ryan Dickson (27), of Killaughey Road in Donaghadee, after he failed to appear at Newtownards Magistrates Court yesterday for sentencing.

Defence barrister Conor Coulter told the court that he had no explanation for the defendant's non-attendance but asked the judge to "stay your hand" over issuing a bench warrant for Dickson's arrest.

However, Judge Hamill told the lawyer there was a "triple whammy" of reasons why he shouldn't.

"He hasn't been to probation, he hasn't come to court and he hasn't got £1,000 compensation, so on that basis there's not a hope that a warrant won't be issued for his arrest," declared the judge.

On the day of his contest last month Dickson pleaded guilty to harassing the woman and the improper use of a telecommunications network "for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety" on dates between February 1 and August 12 last year.

While an offence of disclosing private sexual photographs "with the intention of causing her distress" was withdrawn, prosecution counsel Natalie Pinkerton told the court the file against Dickson was "in essence a revenge porn case".

Ms Pinkerton told the court that within days of Dickson being dumped there were instances of unwanted phone calls and following his ex in his car to such an extent that an interim non-molestation order was imposed. Dickson was "spoken to" by police in April but, following that, "two intimate pictures" of the woman appeared on social media along with various comments.

"The injured party did present today and was prepared to give evidence and there will be a victim impact statement in due course," Ms Pinkerton told the court while asking for a restraining order to be imposed pending sentence.

Imposing that order for two years, which bars Dickson from "pestering or harassing" his ex, contacting her or even talking about her on social media, and ordering a pre-sentence probation report to be written about the defendant, Judge Hamill warned him that had he fought the case and been convicted, he would have faced consecutive jail sentences.

Adjourning sentencing until March 28, Judge Hamill told Dickson his behaviour was "squalid, it was devious, it was mean and it was low".

"Whose reputation has been trashed," asked the judge rhetorically. "I can tell you it's yours. Yours. Not hers. Yours."

The judge warned Dickson "your name will be all over the Press and any damage to your reputation, which should be massive, has been entirely self-inflicted".

Although the judge made a £1,000 compensation order, he warned Dickson his victim could well launch a civil action against him, but that he only had himself to blame.

Issuing a warrant for Dickson's arrest yesterday, Judge Hamill said his behaviour was "the lowest of the low and he will be dealt with by me".

Belfast Telegraph

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