10 face circuit court for sharing pics or naming child killers online

ireland
Judge John Hughese adjourned until January 20th next for the DPP to indicate consent to them being sent forward to the circuit court.
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Tom Tuite

Six men and four women face trial accused of sharing names and pictures of two boys convicted of the murder of a teenage schoolgirl on social media.

The boys were juveniles and have the legal right to anonymity.

The 10 people, aged between 22 and 48, were investigated and had their cases listed again at Dublin District Court today.

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) had already recommended summary disposal of the cases in the district court.

However, Judge John Hughes ruled the cases were unfit to be heard at that level, where the maximum sentence is 12 months. He adjourned them until January 20th next for the DPP to indicate consent to them being sent forward to the circuit court which can impose jail terms of up to three years.

Jurisdiction

Defence solicitors Michael French and Tony Collier argued that jurisdiction had already been accepted by then presiding Judge Brian O’Shea when he heard an outline of the allegations on Oct. 28 last.

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Mr French said one of his clients had expected to have their case disposed of on Wednesday and it was taking a “great toll” on that defendant.

Their submissions were adopted by lawyers for the remaining defendants.

Judge Hughes noted the arguments but cited a legal precedent in relation to reconsidering a trial venue order.

In a re-hearing of the allegations, Judge Hughes was told that following the boys’ Central Criminal Court trial, images appeared on social media purporting to identify them.

Section 93 of the Children Act states that no report shall be published or included in a broadcast which reveals the name, address or school of any child concerned in the proceedings or includes any particulars likely to lead to the identification of any child concerned in the proceedings.

At the teenagers’ appearances at the Children’s Court in Dublin, the news media was reminded of the reporting restrictions.

The judge there had also warned social media users they would face prosecution if they identified the pair.

That order continued and was reiterated throughout the trial in the Central Criminal Court.

Dublin District Court heard yesterday/today (wed) that in the days after the boys were convicted, a number of posts online breached the court orders and the Children Act.

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Nine of the defendants are from around Dublin and the remainder lives in Co Kildare.

They are accused of breaking the anonymity rule by illegally sharing images or naming two boys.

State solicitor Edward Flynn told Judge John Hughes that the recent Court of Appeal ruling on section 252 of the Children Act also applied as a matter of law, preventing identification of a deceased child victim as well.

Defendants

Father-of-four, Gareth Cunningham, 38, of Greenfort Crescent, Clondalkin allegedly posted pictures of the two boys on Facebook along with text, “evil looking fuckers”. Garda Adrian Kildea said.

Declan Corcoran, 29, a father-of one, from Williams Place Lower, D.1, also named the two boys on Twitter, Garda Kildea alleged. “If anyone does not know their names, sick murdering perverts”, he also tweeted, it was alleged.

Edel Doherty, 47, of Rory O’Connor House, on Hardwicke Street, D.1 was accused of posting photos of the convicted boys on Facebook, Garda Robert McNicholas said.

Leeanda Farrelly, 26, of Kilmartin Avenue, Tallaght, allegedly posted an image of one of the killers on Facebook, Garda McNicholas said. Judge Hughes was told the Facebook post also stated; “These are the two scum who murdered poor little girl X [the news media cannot identify her], I hope they get karma soon. They will get new names like the scum who killed Jamie Bulger”.

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Jamie Shannon, 25, of Empress Place, D.1, allegedly posted pictures of both of the boys on Twitter.

Hazel Fitzpatrick, a 24-year-old mother-of-two, with an address at Easton Green, Leixlip, Co. Kildare, posted text and pictures on Facebook, Garda Eamonn O’Neill told the court. The post allegedly read: “name and shame the cunts, justice served, they should not be allowed see light again, two sickos, everyone should see who the are”.

Mother-of-three Louise Heaney, 48, of Killinarden Estate, Tallaght, is accused of sharing a picture on Facebook with each of the boys circled, said Garda O’Neill.

Kyle Rooney, 25, of Rathfield Park, Raheny, allegedly posted photos of the two boys on Twitter, the court was told. It was claimed he tweeted, “They deserve everything they are going to get, fucking scumbags” and “get the horrible cunts”.

Robert Murphy, 30, of Dolphin Road, Drimnagh, is accused of taking part in a thread discussion on Twitter in which the boys were named and he allegedly wrote, “stuff slowly leaks out”.

Jake Marshall, 22, Balcurris Gardens, Ballymun, posted pictures of the boys in a tweet and said, “everyone deserves to see these two evil cunts,” Garda Niall Carolan told Judge Hughes.

They have not yet indicated how they will plead.

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