Kriegel verdict: Twitter and Facebook to appear in court as users identify Boy A and Boy B

Kriegel verdict: Twitter and Facebook to appear in court as users identify Boy A and Boy B
Ana Kriegel

Anyone who publishes photographs or identifies the two teenage boys who murdered Ana Kriegel will feel the full force of the law, a judge has warned.

Justice Michael White also ordered Twitter and Facebook to take down any material identifying the 14-year-olds from their platforms.

The social media giants will appear before Justice White at the Central Criminal Court this morning after social media users identified the 14-year-old boys despite an order preventing their being named and a provision under the Children Act that prohibits the identification of minors accused or convicted of a criminal offence.

Making the order, Mr Justice White issued a “trenchant warning” to any individual who decides to try to identify the boys, saying they will be subject to a contempt of court application. Gardaí also issued a warning to the public.

Brendan Grehan, for the Director of Public Prosecutions, said the court has “unlimited powers” of detention and fine for anyone found in contempt of court.

Justice White said the murder trial was a particularly sensitive one and nobody could be under the illusion that publishing the identities of the accused is not prohibited by the Children Act.

Mr Grehan raised the issue, saying that lawyers for Boy B had contacted the DPP’s office and alerted it to images published on Facebook alongside derogatory comments. Counsel said some of the commentators seemed to be aware that there was an order made to protect the boys’ identities.

Mr Grehan said the individuals who published the photographs can be identified but the images had been shared and it is not yet clear to what extent.

He said it is the DPP’s view that the owners of Facebook and Twitter have a responsibility in respect of the matter and the DPP was seeking an order against the platforms directing them to remove photos or other material that would identify either boy.

The boys, identified in the media only as Boy A and Boy B, were convicted on Tuesday of murdering Ana Kriegel at Glenwood House, Laraghcon, Clonee Rd, Lucan, on May 14 last year.

Boy A was also convicted of Ana’s aggravated sexual assault in a manner that involved serious violence.

Meanwhile, new laws to control access to online pornography are being considered by the Government in the wake of the trial.

Responding to Dáil questions from Labour leader Brendan Howlin, who described the murder as “horrific”, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the Government would consider following the UK in introducing laws which prevent minors from accessing adult content websites.

“It is a matter of concern to all of us that pornography is now so accessible to young people and that many young people learn about sex,” said Mr Varadkar.

Mr Howlin asked if the Government would follow the UK to introduce laws which mean people must provide verification that they are over 18 before accessing adult content online.

File photo
File photo

The UK law is yet to come into force and Mr Varadkar said: “We don’t know yet if it will be successful.”

He suggested that after a year of implementation, Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan could contact his UK counterpart to seek advice and a report as to whether it has been effective and had unintended consequences. “It’s a good thing that we should learn from other jurisdictions,” he said.

Pressing the Taoiseach on the establishment of an online safety commissioner which has already been promised by Government, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said it is time politicians catch up with the issue.

“Today, reports online, on every radio station, and in every newspaper are about how easy it is for children and teenagers to access pornography. Many parents across the country are wondering how best to protect our children and while no one can protect them 100%, it is certainly time the legislators caught up and addressed this issue,” he said.

Mr Varadkar said Communications Minister Richard Bruton is working on legislation to set up the online safety commissioner.

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