Judge warns woman about posting online on childcare proceedings

Court heard woman has already been sent to prison for publishing material online

Photograph: Alan Betson / THE IRISH TIMES

Photograph: Alan Betson / THE IRISH TIMES

 

A High Court judge has warned a woman that she could end up back in prison unless she stops posting information about childcare proceedings involving her son on social media.

The woman, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, has brought High Court judicial review proceedings against orders made in the District Court concerning her own son, who has been placed in the care of the Child and Family Agency (CFA).

It is an offence to identify any person that is the subject of childcare proceedings before the courts.

On Monday an application by the CFA to have the woman attached and committed to prison due to her alleged failure to comply with an undertaking she had given to stopping putting material online that identified parties involved in childcare proceedings came before Mr Justice Denis McDonald.

The judge heard that the woman has already been sent to prison for publishing material online about the childcare proceedings which identify her child.

She had previously given an undertaking not to publish the material, but the court heard has breached that undertaking on several occasions.

Counsel for the CFA, Ronan Munroe SC, said his client did not want to see the woman jailed but had no alternative other than to take attachment and committal proceedings in light of what was being posted by her on social media.

The woman’s lawyer initially told the court that his client was not willing to remove the material.

However, after a brief consultation with the woman, her solicitor said she was prepared to take down and not post any more the material on social media until the matter returns before the court.

Mr Justice McDonald said that the woman faced “ very serious consequences” if she continued to post material about childcare proceedings.

He said she could end up being sent back to prison, and that she was“doing herself no favours”.

The judge added that she could vent her arguments in the judicial review proceedings she has taken over the care orders made by the District Court.

The judge agreed to a request by the woman’s solicitor to adjourn the motion for attachment and committal to prison so that her legal team can be fully instructed in the matter.

The case will return before the court next week.