A Co Londonderry man has vowed he will go to jail rather than pay a convicted paedophile compensation after he featured on an internet page set up to monitor paedophiles.
In the landmark verdict, Mr Justice Stephens held that both the social media giant Facebook and page operator Joe McCloskey were liable for misusing private information.
He also ordered that the ‘Keeping Our Kids Safe From Predators 2’ Facebook profile at the centre of the lawsuit is to be terminated.
However, Mr McCloskey told the Irish News he will not pay out.
“No definitely not. I will go to jail first,” he said.
Describing the court ruling as “shocking” he added: “I didn’t expect to have to pay him. What I shared about him was in the papers. None of his human rights were breached.
“Whatever was published was in the public domain.”
He also told the paper that he will not delete the Facebook page.
“I am personally not going to do it,” he said. “I will leave it to Facebook.”
He said an online fund-raising drive has been launched to help fund the cost of fighting the case.
Mr Justice Stephens – ruling for the sex offender who brought the privacy action – said information published indiscriminately could have threatened public order and incited violence and hatred.
“It was an attempt to hunt a sex offender, to drive him from his home and to expose him to vilification,” he said.
His judgment is believed to represent the first award of damages against Facebook in a case of this kind.
The plaintiff, 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.