Man to pay €75,000 damages for defamation on Facebook

Judge says order should teach people to be careful when posting on social media

A Co Monaghan man posted a defamatory item on Facebook suggesting the head of the National Regional Game Council had made the organisation go ‘broke’

A Co Monaghan man posted a defamatory item on Facebook suggesting the head of the National Regional Game Council had made the organisation go ‘broke’

 

A Co Monaghan man who posted a defamatory item on Facebook about the national director of the country’s game shooting body has been ordered to pay €75,000 in damages.

In awarding the maximum allowable damages against John Gilsenan, of Grigg, Doohamlet, Castleblayney, Judge John O’Hagan told Monaghan Circuit Criminal Court on Thursday that his order should “teach people posting messages on the social media site to be very careful”.

Desmond Crofton (63), of Cedarwood House, Stonestown, Co Offaly, took the civil action against Gilsenan in relation to a Facebook comment posted on or about December 22nd, 2015.

The court heard the defamatory item on Facebook suggested Mr Crofton, as its national director, had caused the National Association of Regional Game Councils to go “broke”.

Mr Crofton gave an outline of how the Facebook comment had resulted in questions being raised by members about the organisation’s finances, and legal costs, and had resulted in a confrontation that led to him being suspended on full pay by the body.

Gilsenan failed to appear in court and counsel said that although he engaged in some early communication with the plaintiff, he had since “abandoned” the matter.

Judge O’Hagan granted the award of €75,000 damages with costs, as stated.