Limavady man acquitted of harassing sex offender

Derry's Courthouse on Bishop Street. 3003JM66
Derry's Courthouse on Bishop Street. 3003JM66

A man who identified sex offenders on a social media site was cleared of harassing a convicted sex offender, but was put under a Restraining Order for six months.

Before Londonderry Magistrates Court was Joseph Gerard McCloskey, of Anderson Crescent, Limavady, who denied harassing the man between April 13 and April 17, last year. The Restraining Order prevents McCloskey from posting anything on social media about the complainant.

The court heard the complainant pleaded guilty to sex offences when he was 13 years old and received a youth conference order. He was also convicted of burglary in 2009 and the details of his previous sex conviction was included a court report. It was alleged McCloskey posted this report some four years later and edited it to suggest the convictions were recent.

However, no evidence was presented to the court in relation to the editing. The complainant said that comments posted under McCloskey’s post were threatening and abusive. He said he was concerned for his safety, was alarmed and distressed’ and reported the matter to the PSNI. The court heard McCloskey was served with a police information notice and the post was removed. However, he reposted the copy about the complainant three days later. District Judge Peter King dismissed the charges after the evidence was concluded. Judge King then imposed the restraining order for six months.