Revenge porn victims can now seek redress through the criminal courts by reporting such an incident to the PSNI. As a result, one of the first successful prosecutions for revenge porn has just taken place in Northern Ireland.
Mr Darren McGowan-Gormley posted private sexual photos of his ex-girlfriend on Facebook without her consent, after the parties separated in June 2016. Mr McGowan-Gormley contested the case alleging his ex-girlfriend had already distributed the relevant images publically for a calendar she intended to sell commercially. Mr McGowan-Gormley’s ex-girlfriend told the Court the relevant pictures were taken six or seven years ago, and although she was considering making a calendar as alleged, she never went through with it. The pictures were sent privately to Mr McGowan-Gormley after their relationship started.
District Judge Bagnall convicted Mr McGowan-Gormley who is to return to Court in 5 weeks for sentencing.
This prosecution comes in the wake of the Crown Prosecution Service in England and Wales reporting over 200 successful prosecutions for the same offence since the action was criminalised in April 2015.
Becoming a victim of revenge porn can be a traumatic and distressing experience for anyone; however, thankfully there are now a number of ways to take action against an abuser both in the criminal court and through civil court. Should something like this happen to you, as well reporting the crime to the PSNI you also may also have the option of obtaining an Injunction against Harassment or a Non-Molestation Order against an abuser depending on your relationship circumstances. Such remedies provides protection from any further form of intimidation or harassment from an abuser, who faces further prosecution before the criminal court in the event of breaching such an Order or Injunction in any way.
If you should fall victim to revenge porn, or indeed any form of intimidation or harassment, it is important to act quickly, report the crime to the PSNI and seek the urgent advice of a solicitor. At Edwards and Company we have extensive experience in advising clients in this area and have had a number of successful applications to the Court. If you are worried about any issues raised in this article please do not hesitate to contact Carla Fraser.