A 47-YEAR-OLD Carlow man was fined €800 at Carlow District Court last week for posting photos on Facebook of two boys who murdered a teenage girl. Kenneth Griffin, Cois Abhainn, Burrin Road, Carlow pleaded guilty to charges of illegally sharing images or naming the teenage boys, contrary to the Children’s Act.
The teenage boys were convicted of killing a 14-year-old Dublin girl, who cannot be named due to current Irish law, in May 2018. Her murderers, who were 13 years’ old at the time, had the legal right of anonymity due to their age.
Evidence had previously been heard that, on 19 June 2019, Mr Griffin shared photos of the pair on the Carlow Live Facebook page. They were accompanied by the comment ‘Ooops, F–k them’. The defendant later made full admissions to gardaí.
The matter had been adjourned until last week for a probation report and Judge Geraldine Carthy commented: “I think it’s fair to say you have recognised the error of your ways.”
Judge Carthy noted that 47-year-old Mr Griffin believed he was free to identify the teenage boys when the trial was completed. “I did not see any harm,” said Mr Griffin. “Thought everyone would know at that stage.”
Judge Carthy believed the defendant had learned a lesson and had shown remorse. “The probation report says no malice was intended. You did it out of, shall we say, an incorrect understanding of the law.”
However, Judge Carthy said it could be argued that there was so much coverage about the matter at the time that it was hard to understand how someone could make the error. “Obviously, it’s a very serious matter. I am very concerned when a child is at risk of being identified through social media.”
Judge Carthy imposed two €400 fines. “Count yourself fortunate,” said the judge.
“I apologise to the court,” replied Mr Griffin.