In a bitter warning to employers of the threat to their business and staff posed by misuse of the Internet, a rogue web designer who became a Facebook troll and conducted an obsessive ‘cyber-stalking’ campaign against former colleagues has been ordered by the High Court to desist – or go to jail for three months.
The disgruntled IT expert had engaged in a five-year online hate campaign after her employment with the company was terminated and she pursued a claim before an Employment Tribunal without success. The company had obtained an anti-harassment injunction against her but to no avail.
The company’s lawyers submitted that she had used Facebook and a web page that she had designed to bombard her ex-colleagues with ‘highly defamatory and hurtful allegations’ as well as accusations of dishonesty and fraud. The company’s staff had been ‘unpleasantly disturbed’ by the material being posted about them on the Internet. Her activities were described as ‘a type of cyber-stalking’.
The judge said, “She has wilfully embarked upon a campaign to cause as much trouble and upset as she can to her former employer and fellow employees. There is considerable force in the submission that her conduct was comparable to Internet stalking. These breaches amount to a serious contempt of court. She is certainly an obsessive.
“I am satisfied that the breaches are serious enough that there must be a custodial sentence. The victims have clearly been upset and alarmed by what has been said about them. The custodial term shall be three months imprisonment.” That sentence would be activated if the woman failed to remove all offending material from her Facebook account and the Internet within a week.