Suffering internet harassment?
Posted: 16th July 2018
Internet-based harassment is increasingly common, but the law is getting on top of the issue and does not hesitate to help victims.
In one case, lawyers representing a woman who suffered several years of torment at the hands of a man she met on a dating website won her compensation, an apology and his binding promise to desist.
After meeting him online, the woman went out with the man for a few months before telling him that she wished to end the relationship.
Over the ensuing 12 years, he created at least 10 websites, some of which bore her name and which were used to publish offensive, private and confidential information about her. He took steps to bring the material to the attention of her family and friends.
The woman’s complaints to the police did nothing to stop the man’s campaign and he continued his activities even after being threatened with arrest.
He set up two Twitter accounts in the woman’s name, providing links to offending websites, and bought a Google banner advertisement featuring her photograph.
The solution was to launch legal proceedings against the man on her behalf, alleging harassment, misuse of private information and breach of confidence.
Only then did he admit his wrongdoing and apologise, declaring himself ashamed of what he had done. His campaign had caused the woman enormous anxiety, embarrassment and mental distress.
The facts of the case emerged as the High Court approved a final settlement of the woman’s case. The man and his company, which he used as a vehicle for much of his campaign, agreed to pay her undisclosed damages, together with her legal costs. They also gave undertakings to the Court that their wrongdoing would cease.