Online identification of Ana Kriégel’s killers ‘stabilised’, court hears

Court hearing contempt proceedings against Facebook and Twitter over naming of boys

Flowers left on a bench, which was unveiled by the parents of murdered schoolgirl Ana Kriégel, at a ceremony last weekend on the grounds of the Leixlip Manor Hotel, Co Kildare. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Flowers left on a bench, which was unveiled by the parents of murdered schoolgirl Ana Kriégel, at a ceremony last weekend on the grounds of the Leixlip Manor Hotel, Co Kildare. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

 

The online identification of Ana Kriégel’s murderers has “stabilised” but authorities are worried it will flare up again when the boys are sentenced, a court has heard.

The Central Criminal Court is dealing with contempt proceedings lodged against Facebook and Twitter for allegedly facilitating the public identification of the two 14-year-old boys, known as Boy A and Boy B, who were convicted of murdering Ana on June 18th.

Boy A had pleaded not guilty to the murder and sexual assault “involving serious violence” of Ana on May 14th, 2018, at Glenwood House, Laraghcon, Clonee Road, Lucan in Dublin.

Boy B had pleaded not guilty to the murder of the girl on the same date.

It is a criminal offence to name the teens or share any information which may lead to their identification.

Photographs of the boys were shared widely online in the days after their conviction prompting the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to initiate contempt of court proceedings against the social media giants.

On Friday, Brendan Grehan SC, representing the DPP, said “matters are stable” but the Director has “very real concerns matters could flair up again given sentencing process is at particularly delicate stage.”

Boys A and B are to be sentenced on July 15th by Mr Justice Paul McDermott.

Mr Grehan asked Mr Justice Michael White to continue an previous order compelling Facebook and Twitter to immediately remove any posts identifying the boys on their platforms.

Counsel for Facebook, Rossa Fanning SC, said it had no objection to the order being continued.

He said Facebook has taken all reasonable steps to ensure compliance and that the DPP seemed to acknowledge this was the case.

Counsel for Twitter, Andrew Fitzpatrick SC, also did not object to Mr Grehan’s application. He handed in an affidavit from Twitter outlining the steps it had taken to comply with the order.

Mr Justice White agreed to continue the order until July 26th when the matter will be mentioned again.

Meanwhile, gardaí are continuing to conduct interviews with social media users accused of sharing photographs of Boy A and Boy B.

The Facebook and Twitter case is one of several contempt proceedings arising out of the seven-week trial.

On Monday, a journalist was fined €2,500 for accidentally naming Boy A during a radio interview the day after conviction. The radio station, Red FM, was fined €10,000.

The court is also due to rule if the editor of the Irish Daily Mail is responsible for a front page headline printed during the trial which mischaracterised the evidence against the boys.