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‘Disturbing and offensive’ – Facebook sympathises with Nora Quoirin’s parents as lawsuit over online posts is settled

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Nóra Quoirin (pictured) was found dead nine days after disappearing from her family’s holiday cottage at a resort near Kuala Lumpur in 2019

Nóra Quoirin (pictured) was found dead nine days after disappearing from her family’s holiday cottage at a resort near Kuala Lumpur in 2019

Retired solicitor Anne Brennan has agreed she will never mention the Quoirin family on social media again

Retired solicitor Anne Brennan has agreed she will never mention the Quoirin family on social media again

Meabh and Sebastien Quoirin, parents of Nóra Quoirin, outside the High Court in Dublin, where it was confirmed they had settled a case against Facebook and retired solicitor Anne Brennan. Photo: PA

Meabh and Sebastien Quoirin, parents of Nóra Quoirin, outside the High Court in Dublin, where it was confirmed they had settled a case against Facebook and retired solicitor Anne Brennan. Photo: PA

PA

Meabh and Sebastien Quoirin, parents of Nora Quoirin who went missing and died in Malaysia, in August 2019, at the Four Courts in Dublin yesterday (WEDS), after they read a statement to media announcing the settling of their case. PIC: Collins Courts

Meabh and Sebastien Quoirin, parents of Nora Quoirin who went missing and died in Malaysia, in August 2019, at the Four Courts in Dublin yesterday (WEDS), after they read a statement to media announcing the settling of their case. PIC: Collins Courts

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Nóra Quoirin (pictured) was found dead nine days after disappearing from her family’s holiday cottage at a resort near Kuala Lumpur in 2019

Facebook has expressed sympathy with the family of tragic teenager Nora Quoirin over “distress and trauma” caused by the posting of “disturbing and offensive” allegations on the social media platform.

The statement came as the High Court in Dublin was told defamation proceedings taken by Nora’s Belfast-born mother Meabh and French father Sebastien against retired solicitor Anne Brennan and Facebook had been settled.

Nora was found dead nine days after disappearing from her family’s holiday cottage at a resort near Kuala Lumpur in 2019.

Declan Doyle SC, for the Quoirins, said the case arose out of material posted by Ms Brennan in 2019 and 2020 which his clients claim is grossly defamatory of them.

Mr Doyle, instructed by solicitor Vivienne Barror, told High Court president Mr Justice David Barniville the actions against Ms Brennan and Facebook had been settled.

“The terms of that settlement are confidential between the parties,” he said.

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Independent.ie this morning reported that Ms Brennan had given an undertaking to never comment online again about the Quoirin family or the case as part of the settlement.

The posts related to a number of controversial and unproven theories about the teenager’s disappearance and death while on holiday in Malaysia in 2019.

Rossa Fanning, counsel for Facebook, trading as Meta Platforms Ireland Limited, read out an agreed statement as part of the settlement with his client.

“On August 4, 2019, Nora Quoirin went missing while her family were on holiday in Malaysia. Tragically, her body was found nine days later,” the statement said.

“During what was a distressing time for the Quoirin family in the course of Nora's disappearance and in the aftermath of her subsequent discovery, a Facebook user posted a series of allegations that were disturbing and offensive to Nora's parents on the Facebook platform.

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Meabh and Sebastien Quoirin, parents of Nóra Quoirin, outside the High Court in Dublin, where it was confirmed they had settled a case against Facebook and retired solicitor Anne Brennan. Photo: PA

Meabh and Sebastien Quoirin, parents of Nóra Quoirin, outside the High Court in Dublin, where it was confirmed they had settled a case against Facebook and retired solicitor Anne Brennan. Photo: PA

PA

Meabh and Sebastien Quoirin, parents of Nóra Quoirin, outside the High Court in Dublin, where it was confirmed they had settled a case against Facebook and retired solicitor Anne Brennan. Photo: PA

“Meta Platforms Ireland Limited appreciates that the user's allegations were distressing to the Quoirin family and takes this opportunity to express its sympathy for the distress and trauma arising from that user's allegations.

“Meta Platforms Ireland Limited will continue its efforts in preventing the misuse of its platform and ensuring the safety of users.”

Mr Doyle said the proceedings against both defendants could be struck out on consent with no further order.

Making the orders, Mr Justice Barniville said he wished to join in expressing sympathy to Meabh and Sebastien Quoirin, who travelled from their home in the UK for the brief hearing.

Speaking afterwards, Meabh Quoirin indicated the couple would continue their efforts to uncover the full circumstances surrounding their daughter’s death.

“Today marks the end of another chapter in the quest for truth. We are satisfied this matter is now concluded,” she said.

“We will continue our efforts in Malaysia in order to bring justice for our beloved Nora. We wish to thank our legal team for all their support and we won’t be making any further comment on these proceedings.”

Ms Brennan was not present in court. She told the Irish Independent she was relieved the case was over and would never mention the Quoirin family on social media again.

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Retired solicitor Anne Brennan has agreed she will never mention the Quoirin family on social media again

Retired solicitor Anne Brennan has agreed she will never mention the Quoirin family on social media again

Retired solicitor Anne Brennan has agreed she will never mention the Quoirin family on social media again

According to Ms Brennan, the settlement did not involve the payment of compensation on her part and each side will bear their own legal costs.

Ms Brennan is a former partner in a Dublin law firm, and specialised in employment and equality law. She retired in 2014 due to an illness.

Comments she made in relation to Nora’s disappearance were taken down by Facebook, which also suspended her account for 30 days.

Nora disappeared from her family’s cottage at the Dusun Eco Resort, 65km south of Kuala Lumpur, on August 4, 2019.

A major search was launched, and her body was found on August 13 beside a small stream about 2.5km from the resort.

A post-mortem examination showed she succumbed to intestinal bleeding due to starvation and stress.

An inquest concluded Nora died as a result of misadventure. Police said there was no indication she had been abducted.

However, her parents challenged the ruling, dismissing the notion their daughter, who was born with holoprosencephaly, a disorder which affects brain development, could walk off into the jungle alone at night.

A Malaysian judge later overturned the inquest verdict and changed it to an open ruling.

The fresh verdict did not rule out the possibility of criminal involvement.

The judge, Azizul Azmi Adnan, said balance and co-ordination issues Nora faced, together with the fact she tired easily, meant it was unlikely her death was the result of misadventure.

He said she was a shy and retiring child who was incurious and unadventurous.

The resort was located on a steep hill that would have been very difficult for Nora to walk across at night in the dark, he concluded.

Judge Adnan said that to leave the compound she would have had to climb over broken fencing or squeeze through gaps in the resort’s gate and, in order to get to the location where she was found, she would have had to cross rocky streams and climb up and down steep slopes.

The judge said such terrain was tough for able-bodied adults and noted Nora was barefoot when she went missing.

He also said it was unlikely that Nora alone would have been able to evade detection for the six days it is believed she survived in the jungle.

The owner of the resort admitted that the window of their chalet was broke and could have been opened from the outside, while some fencing around the resort was also broke.

Nora’s mother told the inquest she heard the "muffled and whispering" sounds of two people inside the family's cottage on the morning of her daughter’s disappearance, but was too asleep to be able to take action at the time.

The family has been critical of the police investigation, stating officers only began looking for fingerprints and conducting interviews at the resort several days after the disappearance, by which time many people had passed through the site.


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