The courts have responded robustly  to the posting of intimate pictures on social media without the knowledge or consent of the person pictured.

A 27-year-old was convicted and sentenced to nine months in prison for posting intimate pictures of his ex-girlfriend to pornographic sites along with links to her social media accounts.

The defendant pleaded guilty. His actions followed his ex-girlfriend breaking off with him and his acts were retaliation against her. The judge took a very strong line on his actions which the judge described as ‘an insidious and shocking way of getting back at her’. The judge said the victim would be viewed as a ‘piece of meat’ by those seeing her image on the websites and would think lowly of the victim.

This was one of the first prosecutions in Ireland of what is known as ‘revenge porn’ offence and clearly shows the attitude judges will take on such cases.  The victim, whose identity was not disclosed, was very distressed with the action of the defendant. She started to receive many daily ‘friend’ requests from complete strangers after the images had been posted.

The defendant, when interviewed by the Gardai, admitted that he had uploaded the images and links. The defendant’s solicitor told the court that the break-up of his relationship as well as periods of poor mental health, caused his client to react the way he did.

The judge took a very serious line on such a case and felt a custodial sentence had to be imposed.

This case shows the strict approach the courts are taking on such acts of revenge porn and where photographs of ex partners are posted all over social media without any prior permission.

DPP v Joseph O’Connor District Court (Galway) 15 June 2022