‘Paedophile hunter’ fails to show for appeal of damages ruling

Limavady man Joe McCloskey and Facebook challenging £20,000 award to child abuser

A so-called ‘paedophile hunter’ who has been ordered to pay damages to a convicted child abuser failed to turn up in court on Monday for an appeal against the ruling.  Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times.

A so-called ‘paedophile hunter’ who has been ordered to pay damages to a convicted child abuser failed to turn up in court on Monday for an appeal against the ruling. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times.

 

A so-called ‘paedophile hunter’ who has been ordered to pay damages to a convicted child abuser failed to turn up in court on Monday for an appeal against the ruling.

Limavady man Joe McCloskey and Facebook are both challenging a verdict that they were jointly liable to the sex offender awarded £20,000 compensation.

His efforts to overturn the judgment have been surrounded by continued uncertainty over his legal aid status. As the hearing got underway at the Court of Appeal, a panel of three senior judges were informed McCloskey was not in attendance.

Mr McCloskey was sued along with the social media firm over a page he operated to name and shame sex offenders in Northern Ireland.

In a landmark ruling last year the High Court held compensation should be provided to one of those featured.

A judge found Mr McCloskey and Facebook liable for misusing private information. 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.

Privacy

CG claimed harassment, violation of his right to privacy and breaches of the Data Protection Act against Facebook and McCloskey after his photograph and details appeared on the page ‘Keeping Our Kids Safe From Predators 2’.

He also claimed he had been threatened with being thrown off a pier, hounded out of a cinema and had to use a supermarket trolley to fight off a tormentor. His lawyers argued the campaign had reached the level of dangerous vigilantism. The High Court awarded damages in the total sum of £20,000, with McCloskey liable for £15,000.

Since the verdict, two of CG’s victims have issued writs against him. An injunction was also secured to stop any payout to the sex offender until that litigation is dealt with.

Appealing the ruling against Facebook, Anthony White QC challenged the finding that it was liable for misuse of private information.

“CG did not object to name calling, stating it was part of his conviction and he had to live with that,” the barrister contended.

The appeal continues.