A LIMERICK MAN who had a court order preventing him from contacting his former partner, either in person or by electronic means, used his WhatsApp profile to convey messages.
The 38-year-old man, who cannot be identified in order to protect the identity of his former partner, altered his profile on the instant messaging app several times to refer to intimate details of his relationship with the woman, Judge Carol Ann Coolican heard in Newcastle West District Court yesterday (Tuesday).
The woman told the court that she had a protection order in place against her former partner.
However, on dates in September, he updated his profile picture and status information on his WhatsApp profile to refer to intimate details between them, as well as using the words “the miracle baby” and posting a picture of a football strip with the words “kit he never got to wear”.
The woman told Inspector Gearoid Thompson prosecuting that she changed her own profile on the service to say “please stop.”
She said she did no want to be reminded of such intimate and personal details now that their relationship had ended.
She told the court that the status changes couldn’t be seen by other people, and that “they were directed at me and my pregnancy”.
She said there were other status changes but she had not gone back to make any further statements to Gardaí because she wanted “to try to move on with my life after the vile things that were done to me”.
The woman denied suggestions from the man’s defence solicitor that she had deliberately clicked on to to his client’s profile to see what changes had been made.
“I get notifications when someone has changed their profile but I don’t know who that person is until I open the notification and see the change,” she told the court.
Judge Coolican said it would seem that it was accepted that there is a protection order in place.
“I don’t think there was any evidence that she sought him out and no evidence one way or the other of whether this was intended for her directly or others.”
Judge Coolican aid that she was satisfied the State had “met the threshold” to prove that he had broken the safety order.
She imposed a fine of €500 on the man and set bail for an appeal, should he wish to take one.