Rapist 'being harassed on Facebook'

Published Friday, 05 April 2013
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A west Belfast man convicted of raping a schoolgirl before phoning her mother to gloat about the attack is being harassed on Facebook, the High Court has heard.

Rapist 'being harassed on Facebook'
Quinn was jailed for eight years for raping a schoolgirl. (© Getty)

Lawyers for Michael Sean Quinn, 24, claimed comments posted on anti-abuse campaigner Joe McCloskey's personal page threaten the safety of him and his family.

Quinn, originally from Glasvey Drive, Twinbrook, is seeking an injunction against Mr McCloskey and the social networking giant to have the contents removed from the site.

He was jailed for eight years in 2007 for raping a teenage girl. Quinn attacked his victim, 15, in the city in August 2005 while she was on holiday from England.

During the trial, it emerged that he later used the girl's mobile phone to call her mother and state: "I enjoyed raping your girl."

Following his release from jail, he was returned to custody for breaching a sexual offences prevention order.

In court on Friday, Quinn's counsel, Michael Ward, confirmed he was seeking an order for the removal of Mr McCloskey's personal page.

The barrister said "inflammatory" comments posted on it by other users referred to what should be done to his client.

"These comments constitute a threat to the personal safety of, not only him, but also his family," Mr Ward claimed.

He told Mr Justice Horner how, last month, police notified Quinn that he was under threat.

A suspect device was also found outside his home - which later turned out to be a hoax, the court heard.

Mr Ward contended: "The information posted, the nature of the information and the speculation as to the current whereabouts of the plaintiff amounts to harassment of the plaintiff."

But Barry McKenna, for Mr McCloskey, questioned why Quinn's representatives never tried to approach his client to ask for any offending material to be taken down.

He added: "This plaintiff, I would say, does not come to court with clean hands.

"He has failed to disclose in respect of his rape conviction that he then was in breach of a sexual offences prevention order."

Counsel for Facebook, Peter Hopkins, argued that the legal move was disproportionate when balanced against users freedom of expression rights.

He also queried the extent of the risk Quinn claims to be under.

Following a further suggestion that only material directly related to the plaintiff should be removed, Mr Justice Horner adjourned the case for two weeks.

He directed Quinn's lawyers to write to Mr McCloskey's legal representatives setting out precisely what they are seeking.

The judge told the parties: "There are a whole lot of issues that arise here that haven't been looked at in any detail."

© UTV News
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7 Comments
Tommy in Co Antrim wrote (513 days ago):
No sympathy for this scumbag at all. He got away lightly for his sickening crimes.
Karen in belfast wrote (513 days ago):
GOOD MAN JOE, Keep up the good work!!!!! Clearly Northern Ireland is all for the support of the offender and shows no sympathy, compassion of care for the REAL VICTIMS. Anyone who breaks the law has taken away the civil rights of their victim. This should therefore forfeit any civil rights they have. Its little wonder people here break the law,when all the law does is protect them. I'll say it again GOOD MAN JOE, KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!!!!
M in Belfast wrote (514 days ago):
Quinn didnt care about that young girl when he brutally raped and robbed her and taunted her mother by phone, isnt that a form of harrassment using a communications device? All be it stolen from his victim. He might want to try and forget what he has done and might think that if he manages to stop other people talking about him on facebook that they will 2. If all he has to worry about is people namecalling then he is already a million times better off than his victim who will never get away from what he has done to her .Best thing quinn could do is find a rock and crawl under it.
Frosty in Here wrote (514 days ago):
Victims of rape are dealt a life sentence of torment when they are attacked. If you ask me he got off light. Perhaps he should have thought about the consequences of his actions before raping the wee girl and phoning her mother to brag about it. Did he think it'd make him popular?
jacqueline in belfast wrote (515 days ago):
what an absolute disgrace!! joe mccloskeys page names and shames CONVICTED offenders so as to protect our kids!!!! and isn't it a good thing that we know where these dangerous people are. Michael Quinn cruelly raped a young girl, he doesn't have the right to anonymity.
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