Man posted pictures of his ex on Facebook

editorial image

A 26-year-old Banbridge man who harassed his former girlfriend by posting photographs on Facebook also assaulted her at her home, Craigavon Magistrates Court heard last Wednesday.

Simon Gibson, Iveagh Gardens, Banbridge, admitted harassing a female between June 6 and June 7 last year and a second similar charge between July 13 and July 31.

He also pleaded guilty to assaulting her on June 28 last year, criminal damage to a phone and the theft of keys.

For the first harassment charge he was sentenced to three months in prison while concurrent two month terms were imposed on the assault, criminal damage and theft charges.

He was sentenced to three months in custody for the second harassment offence. This term is to run consecutively with the other sentences making a total of six months.

All the sentences were suspended for three years.

A public prosecutor said that on June 7 last year the injured party reported harassment by her ex-partner, the defendant, who had posted photographs of her on Facebook.

He had been harassing her by sending upwards of 100 text, Facebook and voice mail messages.

Gibson was arrested and released on police bail with the condition he was not to contact the injured party.

On July 31 she claimed that he had sent her further messages and he came to her home at five in the morning.

After knocking on the window and the kitchen door he went into the property and grabbed her by the hair. When she went to call the police he threw her I-phone to the ground, smashing it.

He also took keys from her and these have not been found.

The prosecutor said that the fact a restraining order had been made at an earlier court sitting indicated that the judge took the matter very seriously.

Sentencing had been adjourned from a previous court so that a pre-sentence report could be obtained.

Deputy District Judge Neil Rafferty wondered if this came within the guidelines of revenge pornography.

The prosecutor said that acts were calculated to humiliate the injured party and intimidate her with photographs on social media. The second count of harassment happened after Gibson had been released on bail.

A barrister representing the defendant said it was a nasty series of events and Gibson called her not very nice names.

He explained that his client found it hard to accept the relationship was over and that his ex-partner may have been interested in someone else.

The barrister added that jealously led him to going round to her house at night. She had left the back door open and allowed him to come in but there was another argument.

Gibson snapped the phone from her wrist and took her keys which he threw into the garden next door.

He added that this happened in June and July last year and since then there have been no further issues.

The prosecutor said that the injured party said Gibson had messaged her friends with pictures of her and him together without her permission but there was nothing about her being half dressed in her statement.

Judge Rafferty said he would draw inference from that in favour of the defendant but he added that the court was going to be robust given the nature of the offences.

He told Gibson that ‘a woman is not your property’ and he could not humiliate, brow beat or harass her into doing what he wanted.

“You are not a caveman. This is the 21st century,” added the judge who told Gibson he was ‘just about’ staying out of jail on this occasion.

But he warned him that if he breached the restraining order or acted in this way again he would be going to jail for a significant period of time.