Lawyers for Sunday World reporter Patricia Devlin send Facebook notice to provide account details
Lawyers acting on behalf of journalist Patricia Devlin have issued a formal notice against Facebook to provide details of an account targeting the Sunday World police reporter.
Ms Devlin’s attorneys said that The cabinet also wrote to PSNI asking them to expedite the investigation of a social media post in which the journalist’s child was threatened.
Ms Devlin received a message earlier this month saying, “Your baby will be suffering from a very kind rape very soon.”
Writing on Twitter after receiving the latest message, Ms Devlin said: “Impunity emboldens these sick people.
“When did it become okay to threaten children with rape?”
Ms Devlin had received another such message in October 2019 in which a threat was made to rape her then newborn son and was sent to the journalist’s personal Facebook account.
Last year, she filed a complaint for what she called PSNI’s failure to investigate the threat.
It was signed with the name of a neo-Nazi terrorist group, Combat 18, which in the past had links with loyalist paramilitaries.
Ms Devlin told the Belfast Telegraph she had received a phone call from Police Chief Simon Byrne in which he offered his full support and assurance that PSNI would thoroughly investigate this latest threat received in May. He also offered to meet Ms Devlin in the coming weeks.
KRW Law attorney Kevin Winters said the author of the social media post should be investigated as a matter of priority.
This led to the issuance of a “Norwich Pharmaceutical Order” against Facebook, a legal body with the ability to force third parties to disclose relevant data such as IP addresses. It would have the potential to reveal the real names of users of any account before a possible libel action. Mr Winters expressed concern that individuals often have to resort to lawsuits “on their own” to try to uncover the identity of perpetrators.
PSNI said it could not comment on “the safety of individuals.” Facebook was also contacted for comment.
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