Dad posted graphic messages about child on Twitter

April 6th, 2023 8:00 PM

By Southern Star Team

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A MAN who posted graphic, rude and sexualised messages about one of his children on Twitter has been sentenced to eight months in prison after a court heard that his posts almost made his ex-wife ‘vomit’ on reading them.

The man in his 40s, who cannot be named in order to protect his family’s identity, appeared at Clonakilty District Court last Friday for sentencing. He pleaded guilty to two counts of breaching a barring order by posting ‘deeply offensive and vulgar’ messages about one of his children on the platform. 

The barring order was granted to the applicant on December 20th last. The defendant’s  tweets were in direct contravention of that barring order, as it had specified he was not to post messages about this children or ex-wife.

At an earlier court sitting, Gda Karen Flynn gave evidence of arrest, charge and caution in relation to the two breaches, which occurred on March 19th and 20th last. He replied after the first charge: ‘Why did I put them in fear? They are only telling half the story.’

The court heard that these breaches were committed while he’s currently on bail facing 62 alleged charges relating to his children in the Circuit Court.

Judge James McNulty said the defendant’s tweets about his own child were ‘graphic, sexual and deeply offensive’ to any person who would see or read them.

‘The fact that these were committed while on bail is a grave matter itself, but they were also in breach of a direction given by the court to him last December. Within three months to the day, he’s posting comments on Twitter,’ said Judge McNulty.

Judge McNulty noted in a victim impact statement that the family had moved to another location and that within a year the defendant had also moved to the area.

‘His tweets were graphic and offensive and shaming me and my children,’ his ex-wife had said in the statement. ‘Some of his tweets are manipulating my children making them feel bad, while in others he degrades one of my daughters When I read the more recent tweets, it made me want to vomit. My children now have no father figure and he’s calling them names and accusing them of betrayal.’

Judge McNulty said only a prison sentence would be appropriate to show the gravity of his offences. Aggravating factors included the fact that he committed the offences while on bail from another court, as well as breaching two barring orders.

‘Significantly, I haven’t heard a word of regret or remorse from him,’ said Judge McNulty.

He convicted and sentenced the man to eight months in prison for the offence on March 20th, while he convicted and sentenced him to six months in prison on the other charge, and suspended the sentence for two years. 

Recognisances in the event of an appeal were fixed in the defendant’s own bond of €5,000 all cash, or €1,000 with no cash required, but this would have to be supported by one independent surety of €5,000, all cash.

Judge McNulty also attached conditions to his release on bail while appealing his sentence. These include that the defendant is to leave Co Cork within 48 hours of the court, and reside at an address which must be disclosed to gardaí within seven days of his release on bail.

He must also keep gardaí informed of his address and notify them of a change in address, as well as keeping his mobile phone charged and in credit so he can be contactable at all times.

‘He is not to communicate with the applicant by any means. That means no TikTok or WhatsApp and he is not to communicate with their children, and specifically not to two of the children who are living in another county,’ said Judge McNulty.

He is also not to post any item or comment or engage in a dispute on social media relating to his ex-spouse or their children, or the matters awaiting a circuit court hearing.

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