Man to sue over flag threats on Facebook

Published Tuesday, 05 February 2013
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Four people are set to be sued over threats against a Catholic man posted on Facebook pages linked to loyalist flag protests, the High Court has heard.

Man to sue over flag threats on Facebook
The threats were made over the social networking site Facebook. (© Getty)

Efforts are being made to confirm their identities before they potentially face claims for damages, a judge was told.

Lawyers want to issue proceedings against some of those who posted comments and the administrator of the sites on the social networking giant.

Facebook removed two pages last month after the man's legal team secured a court order.

The pages, Loyalists against Short Strand and Loyalist Peaceful Protests Updater, had provided information on street protests being held across Northern Ireland.

Demonstrations have continued since the decision in December to restrict the flying of the Union flag at Belfast City Hall.

More than 100 police officers have been injured in rioting which has erupted after the protests.

The man allegedly targeted on the pages, referred to only as J18 in High Court proceedings, was granted an emergency injunction against Facebook due to the perceived gravity of the threat.

In court on Tuesday, his barrister revealed that the names of some of those who posted on the pages have been obtained.

"We would seek an injunction against these individuals to prevent any further harassment and possibly damages in respect of the plaintiff," he said.

Basic subscriber information is being sought from Facebook Ireland Ltd in order to confirm identification of those who may be joined as defendants in the case.

Mr Justice McCloskey was told four people are on their list.

The judge directed that the company should provide the information sought within seven days.

He also extended the order prohibiting the contentious pages from appearing on the site.

"The reason for that is the plaintiff is plainly in need of the protection which the order provides, having regard to the evidence which establishes a very significant threat to his personal safety and security," Mr Justice McCloskey explained.

He added, however, that the situation will be reviewed again later this month.

"One of the themes of all of these cases has got to be that these orders will not remain in existence indefinitely but will have to be justified at appropriate intervals," he said.

"The justification for this order is plainly established at the moment."

© UTV News
Comments Comments
Big Toe in Shortstrand wrote (724 days ago):
Fair play to this dude. Time to go after these thugs with every part of the law and bring them to book.
Tommy Atkins in London,E ngland wrote (724 days ago):
Great to witness yet another civilised approach to deal with threats against a persons life, limb,property or indeed his/her quality of life. I would also suggest that this victim institute legal prceedings against Facebook
Iseult in NI wrote (724 days ago):
Anyone who makes threats against anyone else should be well aware they could find themselves in serious trouble. If they think the supposed anonymity of the Internet keeps them safe from exposure, then they've a lot to learn. You can ALWAYS be traced online, no matter what type of filters (proxies, etc.) you use to try to hide your IP address. Some people are just too stupid.
Eamo in Belfast wrote (724 days ago):
Why can the orders not be held indefinatly as this man has been threatened and ibviously been watched by loyalists to have certain details printed this to me sounds ridiculous. The whole affair over the flags needs to end man up Baggott.
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