Belfast Telegraph

Second victim suing convicted child abuser awarded £20k in damages for featuring on Facebook page to monitor paedophiles

By Alan Erwin

A second victim is suing a convicted child abuser awarded £20,000 in damages for featuring on a Facebook page set up to monitor paedophiles in Northern Ireland, it emerged today.

Confirmation of the latest writ to be issued against the sex offender came as an injunction preventing him from obtaining any payout was continued.

In a landmark judgment last month a High Court judge held Facebook and page operator Joe McCloskey liable for misusing private information.

Information published indiscriminately could have threatened public order and incited violence and hatred, he found.

Mr Justice Stephens also ordered that the 'Keeping Our Kids Safe From Predators 2' profile at the centre of the lawsuit is to be terminated.

The sex offender who brought the privacy action, identified only as CG, was released from jail in 2012 after serving a sentence for gross indecency and indecent assault offences against a young girl and a teenage boy.

Now aged in his forties, he remains under supervision by the authorities and has been assessed as posing no significant risk to the public.

He claimed harassment, violation of his right to privacy and breaches of the Data Protection Act against Facebook and Mr McCloskey after his photograph and details appeared on the page.

Amid a string of abusive comments and information on his location one user called for him to be hung while others endorsed shooting or castrating him.

In evidence CG also claimed he has been threatened with being thrown off a pier during a fishing trip, hounded out of a cinema and had to use a supermarket trolley to fight off another tormentor.

His lawyers argued that the campaign had reached the level of dangerous vigilantism.

Although the judge described CG's offences as representing "despicable criminal conduct", he stressed that sex offenders who have served their sentences are to be protected from others intent on harming them or driving them from their homes.

Ruling in favour of CG's right to privacy, he made an award of damages against the defendants in the total sum of £20,000.

Following his verdict one of the sex offender's victims commenced civil proceedings in a bid to secure compensation from him.

An injunction was obtained to freeze any pay-outs that will follow from the original judgment.

In court today counsel for CG revealed that a second writ has now been issued by another victim.

Peter Girvan also confirmed that no money has been paid out to his client by Facebook.

Both lawsuits against CG will be reviewed again after Easter.

Belfast Telegraph Digital


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