A Donegal man has been fined €2000 for posting an offensive status update on his ex-girlfriend's Facebook page.
A judge has ruled that a status update posted to a woman's page by her ex-boyfriend should be classed as criminal damage and imposed a fine of €2000 on the man as a result.
Mr. Justice Garrett Sheehan who handed down the sentence, has made headlines because this is the first judgement which has deemed that criminal damage can be done to a social media account. NewsTalk are reporting that the Criminal Damage Act carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a €10,000 fine, but given that the crime had more to do with damage to reputation than to property, the lower fine was given.
The defendant, who cannot be named, was also acquitted by a jury of raping and falsely imprisoning the woman in her home in 2011, to which he pleaded not guilty. He did however plead guilty to the charge relating to the status update on Facebook, which also helped him avoid a heftier fine or prison time, and made a 'full and frank' admission to Gardai.