Man takes legal action after being branded child sex offender on Facebook
A Co Down man has obtained a High Court injunction against a self-styled paedophile hunter who branded him a child sex offender on Facebook.
He took action after being named in a series of online posts and allegedly subjected to a “sting operation” where a group confronted him at his home.
The man, who cannot be identified, secured an order to prevent any further harassment, intimidation or material about him appearing on the social media network.
He is also seeking damages against Facebook and the suspected operator of the page Not One Nonce Can Escape (NONCE).
According to his lawyers he was accused of being a paedophile in a number of posts accompanied by images and videos about him.
Last weekend a group of people were said to have turned up at his family home.
Disturbances in the street involved neighbours being told the man is a paedophile and that they should watch their children, it was claimed.
He was arrested by police called to the scene, but later released on bail without charge.
Facebook has also been listed as a defendant in the case as some of the material allegedly remains on the social media platform.
The man contends that the company’s own reporting mechanism is inadequate, and that so-called paedophile hunter groups should not be allowed on the network.
His solicitor, Ciaran Moynagh of Belfast firm Phoenix Law, said he is now terrified his home will be targeted again.
The lawyer claimed his client’s personal safety is now at risk, with material still online causing further damage to his reputation.
An interim injunction was granted at a hearing before Mrs Justice Keegan, who listed the case for a review next week.
Outside court, Mr Moynagh said: “There is a misguided belief by many that these so-called paedophile hunters are doing society a service. It is quite the opposite.
“They are destroying the lives of entire families and have little, if anything, to show for it in terms of successful prosecutions or protecting children.
“Time and time again, these groups have been told to stop. The priority must be to protect the vulnerable in society, but this is not the way to do it.”