Blog author is malicious mischief maker, says judge

The author of allegedly defamatory material posted about the Irish-based exploration company, Petroceltic International, and two of its executives on a blog, is a “malicious mischief maker,” a High Court judge has said.

Mr Justice Michael White yesterday said the blog, which had appeared on blogging site WordPress.com, before being taken down by Auttomatic Inc, the US owner of the world’s most popular blogging software, had been “set up to abuse” the company and its directors.

Last month, Petroceltic, which is headquartered in Dublin, had obtained court orders directing Aut O’Mattic A8C Ireland Limited, a subsidiary of Automatic Inc, and Auttomatic Inc to identify the author.

The court had also directed Aut O’Mattic A8C Ireland Limited and Auttomatic Inc to delete the blogger’s allegations about Petroceltic, its chief executive Brian O’Cathain and its financial chief Tom Hickey.

For legal reasons, the blogger’s remarks or username cannot be reported.

Barrister Bernadette Quigley, counsel for Petroceltic and its two executives, had told the court that the allegations were entirely unsubstantiated and blatantly untrue.

Yesterday, Ms Quigley said the blogger had set up the blog to publish defamatory matters in a “targeted campaign” against Petroceltic.

Barrister John McCarroll, who appeared with counsel Ronan Lupton for Aut O’Mattic A8C Ireland Limited and Auttomatic Inc, told the High Court the blog in question had been taken down, but policing the website presented problems as the author could use a different username to again post defamatory remarks.

Mr Justice White directed that Auttomatic Inc be notified by Petroceltic, of any potentially allegedly defamatory comments it is made aware of.

The judge said that he was conscious of the difficulties experienced in policing the website, but Auttomatic Inc had also a responsibility to be aware that the blogger was “mischievous.”

Mr Justice White said that it was very obvious what the blogger had been up to, and it was not a general blogger who had “gone over the top.”

He adjourned the case for mention to a date next month.


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