A man who used the Internet to spread false allegations of child sexual abuse about a school teacher has been jailed for two and a half years by the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court. It is the first case of its kind to come before the courts. The man pleaded guilty to two counts of defamatory libel. The court ordered that no names could be published.

The 27-year-old defendant in this case used the internet to spread allegations that he and others had been sexually abused by a school teacher while at school and that the teacher had been involved in child pornography and had been the subject of an international child pornography investigation. He also made statements to Gardaí. Investigations found no foundation to the allegations, some of which were made by Internet in a Dublin cafe while he was on bail.

The teacher, a married man in a senior position in his school, said the impact of these allegations, which began two and a half years ago has been corrosive and he had been through the most stressful and traumatic time. The defendant apologised to his victim in court and Judge Elizabeth Dunne said that the teacher had been totally vindicated by the court proceedings. The court heard that the defendant suffers from Asbergers Syndrome, a form of autism, but psychiatric evidence said that he understands the difference between truth and lies and he knew the statements he made were false.

Judge Elizabeth Dunne imposed two consecutive sentences of one a half years and one year. He has also spent 17 months in custody but the judge refused to suspend any part of the remainder of the sentence. She said the offences were at the most serious end of the scale and that nothing worse could have been said about someone in the position of teacher.