Abuse victims take privacy action against media

Two young victims of sexual abuse have claimed before the High Court that details contained in media reports of their attacker's conviction for abusing them resulted in their loss of their anonymity and breached their constitutional right to privacy.

The two who were abused by a male, who more than two years ago admitted to charges of rape and sexual assault against the two, claim that their identification had a catastrophic effect on them which resulted in them having to leave their home.

The two children, a brother and sister who have sued through their mother, cannot be identified for legal reasons.

They have sought damages against Independent Star Ltd, the Dundalk Democrat Ltd and Independent Broadcasting Corporation Ltd trading as LMFM Radio over reports they used in November 2006 when their attacker pleaded guilty to offences at the Central Criminal Court in Dublin.

They claim that details, including the name, age and address of the convicted man as well as the dates when the offences occurred that appeared in the reports and broadcasts resulted in them being widely identified in their locality.

In their action they claim the defendants published and broadcast information to the public without authority and were in breach of sections 7 and 8 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act 1981, which grants the right of anonymity to victims and or complainants in criminal cases involving offences of a sexual nature.

The children further claim that their identification caused them considerable distress, upset and embarrassment.

The claims are denied.

The case, before Mr Justice John Hedigan, continues.


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