A convicted sex offender has won £20,000 damages over posts on a Facebook page entitled "Keeping our Kids Safe from Predators 2".
The High Court in Belfast concluded that information published by Joseph McCloskey on a page hosted by Facebook in Ireland "harmed the public interest, creating the risk of reoffending".
In 2007, the plaintiff, named only as CG, was convicted of gross indecency and indecent assault against a young girl and a teenage boy. He was sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment but released on licence in 2012.
CG had sought damages and an injunction on the grounds that Mr McCloskey and Facebook had misused private information and were in breach of Articles 2, 3 and 8 of the European Court of Human Rights and therefore, guilty of actionable negligence.
Mr Justice Stephens held that both the host and operator of the page were liable for misusing private information and ordered the termination of the "Keeping our Kids Safe from Predators 2" profile on the social media site.
He ruled that information published indiscriminately could have threatened public order and incited violence and hatred, adding: "It was an attempt to hunt a sex offender, drive him from his home and to expose him to vilification."