Judge describes revenge porn case as ‘horrific’

Derry's Courthouse on Bishop Street. 3003JM66
Derry's Courthouse on Bishop Street. 3003JM66

A judge has described the actions of a man who posted revenge porn on his ex-girlfriend’s Facebook account as ‘horrific’.

District Judge Barney McElholm said ‘the nature of this offence is horrific as far as I am concerned. For anyone to indulge in posting intimate photos of a former partner for the whole world to see, frankly, it is not as low as you can go, but it’s getting there’.

‘Ten years ago, we didn’t have so-called revenge porn or people posting very intimate details about ex-partners on the internet. 25 years ago, we didn’t even have the internet.”

Aaron Joseph Connor, of Cromore Gardens, pleaded guilty to sending menacing messages via electronic communications and harassment between February 4 and February 19, 2016.

Derry Magistrate’s Court heard the injured party contacted police after she discovered two messages and two comments on her Facebook account which she did not post.

She then arrived at work and found e-mails which she had not sent.

These included intimate photos of the woman, including naked photos, which had been sent to her entire contact list. There were also e-mails sent indicating how the woman liked to have sex.

Two weeks later, the woman phoned police in a ‘distressed state’.

She reported that the 38-year-old was contacting her via email and that she had eight missed calls and three messages from him in a two hour period.

A bunch of flowers had also arrived at her door with a note attached.

This said, ‘I am sorry. I will always love you’.

The court heard the woman was now scared in her home and was physically sick at the thought of the defendant’.

Defence counsel Stephen Chapman said his client had spent the last two months in custody and this has been ‘difficult’ for him.

He said Connor ‘fully accepts the distress that he caused to the injured party’ and ‘realises the seriousness of these offences’.

Mr Chapman also told the court the 38-year-old was acting out of ‘anger and emotion’ as a result of the break-up of this relationship.

District Judge McElholm suspended a four month sentence for two years and ordered Connor to spend 18 months on probation.

As part of this probation order, the defendant must particpate in alcohol treatment and engage with mental health professionals.

He is also prohibited from entering into a personal relationship without disclosing it to probation.

The judge also imposed a restraining order for five years which bans Connor from contacting the injured party in any way and prohibits him from going within 100 metres of the injured party’s home.