Sex Offender Awarded £20k Over Facebook Posts

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    The convicted criminal, known only as CG, was featured on a Facebook page which “named and shamed” more than 400 sex offenders.

    A convicted sex offender has won £20,000 damages over posts on a Facebook page entitled “Keeping our Kids Safe from Predators 2”.

    The High Court in Belfast concluded that information published by Joseph McCloskey on a page hosted by Facebook in Ireland “harmed the public interest, creating the risk of reoffending”.

    In 2007, the plaintiff, named only as CG, was convicted of gross indecency and indecent assault against a young girl and a teenage boy. He was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment but released on licence in 2012.

    CG had sought damages and an injunction on the grounds that Mr McCloskey and Facebook had misused private information and were in breach of Articles 2, 3 and 8 of the European Court of Human Rights and therefore, guilty of actionable negligence.

    Mr Justice Stephens held that both the host and operator of the page were liable for misusing private information and ordered the termination of the “Keeping our Kids Safe from Predators 2” profile on the social media site.

    He ruled that information published indiscriminately could have threatened public order and incited violence and hatred, adding: “It was an attempt to hunt a sex offender, drive him from his home and to expose him to vilification.”

    Mr McCloskey told the court he had “named and shamed” 400 sex offenders through the page, but denied being responsible for a witch-hunt or hate campaign, stressing that he included a disclaimer opposing violence and intimidation.

    But the judge said other internet comments had provided an insight into Mr McCloskey’s attitude and purpose.

    In one, he stated: “Instead of Hunger Games, it should be Paedophile Games, we could hunt them down on live TV and slaughter them.”

    The judge made an injunction against Mr McCloskey, preventing him from harassing, pestering, annoying or molesting CG – whether by publishing, distributing, broadcasting or transmitting any information on Facebook or otherwise.

    He awarded £20,000 damages to CG – £15,000 against Facebook and Mr McCloskey in respect of his postings, and £5,000 against Facebook in relation to postings by the father of one of CG’s victims, who maintained a separate page.

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