Risk over Facebook 'name and shame' site

Published Monday, 26 November 2012
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A convicted sex offender who has been 'named and shamed' on a Facebook page created to "monitor" paedophiles in Northern Ireland has launched a legal bid to have it removed, it emerged on Monday.

Risk over Facebook 'name and shame' site
The case was heard at the High Court in Belfast. (© UTV)

The man, who cannot be identified, is also seeking an injunction to stop his photo and personal details from appearing on the social networking site.

He claims the case is urgent because the risk posed to him is both real and immediate.

Proceedings were brought before Belfast's High Court over the web page where the man, following his release from prison, found his photo had been posted alongside threatening comments.

Granted anonymity at this stage, the man was referred to in court only as XY. He is currently out on licence after serving a jail term for sexual offences and describes himself as being in poor health.

The man is seeking the termination by Facebook Ireland Ltd of the accounts of anyone who operates the page in question.

The court will obviously have at the forefront of its mind the operation of well-established laws, including the law of defamation and the provisions of the Human Rights Act.

Mr Justice McCloskey

His lawyers argue that the company should also be restrained from permitting those responsible from publishing, distributing, broadcasting or disseminating any further information about him.

Facebook has already removed his photograph and the previous related comments.

A lawyer for the company told the court that the further relief being sought was neither necessary nor proportionate. But counsel for the plaintiff confirmed that he still wanted the page removed.

She said the litigation would also try to identify the "mischief makers" before deciding how to proceed against them.

"The case we are making is that Facebook should undertake to monitor," the man's lawyer added.

"The plaintiff recognises that is somewhat onerous, but we would seek a final injunction with regard to that."

Presiding judge Mr Justice McCloskey will hear full arguments from both sides later this week.

© UTV News
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10 Comments
Stephen in Dublin wrote (595 days ago):
I think pedophiles should be named and shamed in every country. But I believe they must be first convicted and enough proof so that there is no doubt they did the crime(s) before their names and photos are published. I've seen some sites where random people post that a certain person has molested them yet they have not told the police or anyone. These cases are dangerous because those named could indeed be innocent and that's where the problems start. The ones who are 100% guilty deserve to have the whole world know them and what they did. They do not deserve to 'do their time' and carry on a normal life. Children are severely impacted from these abuses and most suffer their whole lives so why should their abusers get off so lightly? If anything, the thought of being named and shamed might make them think twice and seek help before laying a hand on an innocent child.
Frosty in Here wrote (602 days ago):
Maybe it's time they published the sex offenders register? At the end of the day, he shouldn't have done what he did and expect to be accepted back into society. They're not called victims for nothing, but for him to play the victim card? Sure he might have paid his debt to society via a jail sentence, but does that mean he won't do it again? As you make your bed, so you must lie in it.
Jamesbelfast in Belfast wrote (602 days ago):
I would agree with Doug. I'm not against naming and shaming but such information needs to be strictly controlled and monitored otherwise there is the risk of innocent people be wrongly accused. In the past people have been murdered when this happened. A public open unregulated forum is definitely not the safe way.
Doug in Nelfast wrote (602 days ago):
There are a lot of vindictive people around who wouldn't think twice about wrongly naming someone out of spite. Don't agree with these sort of sites/pages at all.
Linda in NI wrote (602 days ago):
convicted sex offenders should be kept in jail for life to protect society and children especially then you wouldnt have an issue like this. This is an extremely sick crime and its costing the government millions at the moment with public enquiry into institutional abuse.
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