Woman posts family law details on Facebook after receiving ‘revenge porn’ threat

Judge warns any further posts will lead to 14-day prison sentence

‘What happens within this courtroom stays within this courtroom,’Judge Patrick Durcan told the estranged couple.

‘What happens within this courtroom stays within this courtroom,’Judge Patrick Durcan told the estranged couple.

 

A woman posted details aired at a behind-closed-doors family law court sitting on Facebook after she received a ‘revenge porn’ threat from her ex-partner, a Family District Court has heard.

At the court, in the west of Ireland, the solicitor for the woman said the ‘revenge porn threat’ explanation put forward by the woman was not a justification or excuse for her client to make the Facebook post.

“What caused the outburst on Facebook was a perceived threat that her former partner was going to be releasing personal information on her.”

The estranged couple had appeared before the court in November concerning access and maintenance for their child.

In early December, the woman posted a narrative on her Facebook account running to two printed pages that included information that was heard at the hearing where there are strict rules prohibiting parties making public details of what occurred.

‘Sensitive material’

In a letter read out in court, the solicitor stated that her client alleges that her former partner “threatened to publish extremely sensitive and personal material he admitted to having on my client which she interpreted to be a ‘revenge porn’ threat, which at the time provoked her to in relation to posting the original long narrative on Facebook”.

In court, Judge Patrick Durcan warned the estranged couple that if there were any instances of breaching the in-camera rule proven from now on, he would impose prison sentences of 14 days on either party.

The man’s solicitor brought the application to court concerning the alleged breach of the in-camera rule.

She said the Facebook post was brought to the attention of her client by third parties. She said she wrote a letter on December 5th to the woman’s solicitor pointing out that the information was inaccurate and that her client’s family were distressed and asked that the author would post an apology on Facebook and that there would be no more postings on Facebook.

However, instead of an apology, her client’s former partner posted another message on Facebook that was derogatory towards her client, the solicitor said.

She it was quite astonishing to receive the complaint of ‘revenge porn’, which was never on anyone’s radar until the letter arrived.

“My client’s only concern is that the original posting which is two pages of very small type on Facebook should not have happened.

She added: “He wants to get on with his life — what was published on social media was there for the world to see.”

Apology

The woman’s solicitor said her client has removed the Facebook posts and apologised for them.

Earlier on the day that her client made the Facebook post, she received a text from her former partner which read “You might want to think of the material I have on you and I will publish it”, she said. The woman was extremely upset and extremely distressed to receive such a text.

“She is not saying that justifies her reaction but that is what precipitated what occurred. In retrospect she regrets everything and went on to Facebook foolishly.”

Referring to the text, the man told the court: “I didn’t threaten it. I didn’t threaten anything. That is not a threat.”

The parties’ relationship was described as quite fractious, in court, with “ongoing issues with access”.

Addressing the couple, the judge said: “The in-camera rule is there for very good reasons. You should be very careful in dealing with a case such as this.

He said: “What happens within this courtroom stays within this courtroom other than the matter may be reported by the media in accordance with the law which govern the reporting of proceedings in camera.”

He added: “This court would take the breach of the in-camera rule by either of you most seriously and it would be regarded as a contempt of court should be it that it is proven against either of you.”