Paedophile awarded £20K over Facebook page, being sued by victim

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A convicted child abuser awarded £20,000 in damages for featuring on a Facebook page set up to monitor paedophiles is being sued by one of his victims, it emerged today.

The victim’s lawyers have also secured a High Court injunction halting any payout to the sex offender following his landmark action against the social networking giant.

Last month a judge held Facebook and page operator Joe McCloskey from Limavady liable for misusing private information.

Information published indiscriminately could have threatened public order and incited violence and hatred, he found.

Mr Justice Stephens also ordered that the ‘Keeping Our Kids Safe From Predators 2’ profile at the centre of the lawsuit is to be terminated.

The sex offender who brought the privacy action, identified only as CG, was released from jail in 2012 after serving a sentence for gross indecency and indecent assault offences against a young girl and a teenage boy.

Now aged in his forties, he remains under supervision by the authorities and has been assessed as posing no significant risk to the public.

He claimed harassment, violation of his right to privacy and breaches of the Data Protection Act against Facebook and Mr McCloskey after his photograph and details appeared on the site monitoring child abusers in Northern Ireland.

Amid a string of abusive comments and information on his location one user called for him to be hung while others endorsed shooting or castrating him.

In evidence CG also claimed he has been threatened with being thrown off a pier during a fishing trip, hounded out of a cinema and had to use a supermarket trolley to fight off another tormentor.

His lawyers argued that the campaign had reached the level of dangerous vigilantism.

Although the judge described CG’s offences as representing “despicable criminal conduct”, he stressed that sex offenders who have served their sentences are to be protected from others intent on harming them or driving them from their homes.

Ruling in favour of CG’s right to privacy, he made an award of damages against the defendants in the total sum of £20,000.

Since his verdict one of the sex offender’s victims has commenced civil proceedings in a bid to secure compensation from him.

An injunction has now been granted to freeze any pay-outs that will follow from the original judgment.

In court today counsel for CG confirmed his client has received no money so far.

He also reiterated how the convicted sex offender originally just wanted Facebook to remove the page and pay £7,500 to a child abuse charity.

The court heard there is little defence expected to be mounted to the new claim by the victim.

Listing the case for a further review next week, Mr Justice Stephens ordered the injunction to remain in place until then.

Outside court the victim’s lawyer explained the reasons for seeking damages against CG.

Michael Redmond of Doris & MacMahon Solicitors said: “Our client was extremely concerned and annoyed on hearing that the person who had been convicted of abuse was due to receive a significant amount of compensation arising out of a recent claim involving Facebook.

“As a result our client contacted our office for advice and the High Court indicated that it was prepared to grant the appropriate order to prevent the damages being paid over to the abuser.”

Mr Redmond added: “Our client feels that today’s decision today will go some way towards addressing the concern which many members of the public felt in respect of last month’s judgement.”