Court directs blogging site owner to identify author

The US owner of blogging site WordPress.com has been directed by the High Court to identify the author of allegedly defamatory material posted about Irish-based exploration company, Petroceltic International, and two of its executives.

Auttomatic Inc was also ordered by Ms Justice Marie Baker to delete the blogger’s “blatantly untrue” remarks about the company and CEO Brian O’Cathain and its financial chief Tom Hickey.

Bernadette Quigley, counsel for Petroceltic and its two executives, told the court the blogger had threatened to post further allegations on the site. 

“The allegations posted by the so-far unidentified blogger are entirely unsubstantiated and blatantly untrue,” Ms Quigley said.

Ronan Lupton, counsel for Aut O’Mattic A8C Ireland Ltd, a subsidiary of Auttomatic, told the court his client had not published any defamatory material on any website and should not be before the court. 

Later, Judge Baker heard the US parent company could be joined by consent and it was against this company the court made its orders.

Ms Quigley asked the court to grant an order restricting reporting of the case but Judge Baker refused. 

She said she did not think any responsible court reporter would make references to the user name or alleged defamatory material that had been posted online.

Mr Lupton said The Irish Times had 14 hours earlier published a story to the effect his client was being sued by Petroceltic. 

Ms Quigley told the court that nothing had been disclosed to the Irish Times by her side.

Earlier she told the court the blogger obviously had to pay to post his blog and therefore his identity had to be known to the site’s owner.

The proceedings were adjourned until September 8.


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