The case of Lindsey Goldrick Dean v. Paul Curran and Curran Consulting Ltd. in more detail
Yair Cohen of Cohen Davis Solicitors took on the case after the police would not help for nearly 13 years.
In one of what is to be believed the longest lasting online harassment cases in the UK, a consultant Paul Curran and his company Curran Consulting were ordered to pay an undisclosed sum in damages and stay away from their victim for life.
During parts of the period of harassment Paul Curran worked abroad, including in Saudi Arabia, France, Switzerland and Germany.
Sometime in October 2004, his victim, Lindsey Goldrick Dean became acquainted with Paul Curran through the Guardian newspaper’s dating website, Soulmates.
Between that date and about February 2005, they met 4 times before Mrs. Goldrick Dean told Paul Curran that she wanted to end their relationship.
From about March 2005 until August 2017, Paul Curran harassed his victim, misused her private information and breached her confidence.
Throughout this period, he carried out his harassment by means of designing, registering, creating, publishing, owning, maintaining, updating, administering and controlling at least 10 websites, some of which were named after his harassed victim and all of which contained materials about or relating to her, including a mixture of offensive, private and/or confidential information.
In his witness statement, which was file with the court on 11 October 2017, Paul Curran stated, at paragraph 36:
“Although I did not think of it in that way at the time, with hindsight I accept that a lot of my conduct following the break-up of my relationship with [his victim] could be characterised as harassment.”
Also, according to his Witness Statement, paragraph 37:
“[…] I appreciate that the publication of some of this material may have constituted a breach of her confidence and/or a misuse of her private information, although I did not have any appreciation of the law in that area at the time. I can see that it looks unreasonable, and indeed, spiteful of me, to have published this material in that way, and that I should have known that it would upset [his victim].”
Between at least March 2005 and June 2005, on a number of occasions Paul Curran e-mailed, telephoned, and/or sent post to Mrs. Goldrick Dean, despite her repeated requests to him to stop communicating with her. During the same period, he also used similar methods of communication to make contact with members of her family, as well as several of her friends and acquaintances to bring the said websites to their attention. He went to great lengths to find their contact details, as Lindsey Goldrick Dean was not on Facebook or any other Social Media site. According to Paul Curran’s Witness Statement, paragraph 39:
“I also accept that, on a handful of occasions, I contacted third parties whom [the Claimant] knew and directed them to the Offensive Websites.”
Mrs. Goldrick Dean complained to the police on numerous occasions about his harassment of her but this still did not convince Paul Curran and his company Curran Consulting to cease their campaign against their victim. From October 2005 to December 2005, they created further offensive websites.
In addition, according to Paul Currant’s Witness Statement, at paragraph 62:
“[…] at some point in this period (between December 2005 and August 2007; I do not recall when) I deliberately ‘search engine optimised’ the Offensive Websites to try and ensure that they ranked prominently on a search of [her] name.”
In about November 2007, the police again made plans to arrest Paul Curran, but they said they found that he was living outside the UK much of the time and eventually sent him an e-mail stating that, unless he removed the said websites, he would be arrested. Yet, Paul Curran’s campaign against Mrs. Goldrick Dean escalated. Between September 2008 and February 2012, he created yet more websites.
As his Witness Statement stated, at paragraph 63:
“[…] I became aware that [Mrs. Goldrick Dean] was taking steps to have the websites removed the Web. I appreciate that I should have left her to do this, or better still, removed them all myself. Instead, I accept that on 17 September 2008 I registered a further domain […].”
And according to the his Statement, at paragraph 66:
“I accept that on 2 February 2012, I created a further domain […]. I admit that I did this because I knew that [Mrs Goldrick Dean] was taking steps to have the others removed or blocked by Google. This was the last of the Offensive Websites which I created.”
In about 2014, Paul Curran and Curran Consulting bought a Google banner advertisement which included a photograph of the Claimant and a link to one of the said websites. As Paul Curran stated in his Witness Statement, at paragraph 67:
“It is true that I created a Google advertisement for [one of the Offensive Websites]. I cannot remember when this was.”
In 2015, Paul Curran created two user accounts on Twitter, the social media website, using Lindsey Goldrick Dean’s name. To each account, he posted messages containing the Claimant’s photograph and a link to one of the said websites.
According to Paul Curran’s Witness Statement, at paragraph 68:
“It is also true that, at some point in 2014 or 2015, I created two Twitter accounts in [his victim’s] name. These both contained between one and three Tweets that I wrote with quotes from the Offensive Websites […].”
As of December 2016, when Mrs Goldrick Dean’s lawyers wrote a letter before claim on her behalf to Paul Curran and Curran Consulting, at least two of the said websites and one of the said Twitter Accounts remained online and available on the internet to the general public.
Despite the Letter Before Claim, Paul Curran’s campaign against his victim did not end. In March 2017, he updated the registration of a domain name previously used by him to publish one of the offensive websites and renew it until February 2020. In May 2017, he extended the registration of another domain name to September 2018. This was during the litigation process.
Paul Curran’s campaign against Lindsey Goldrick Dean has caused her enormous anxiety, mental distress and embarrassment. It has adversely affected her health and damaged her professional career.
It wasn’t until Cohen Davis Solicitors served on him a water tight case, that Paul Curran, on behalf of himself and his company apologised to Lindsey Goldrick Dean for their unlawful conduct.
As Paul Curran’s Witness Statement stated, at paragraph 3:
“[…] I wish to apologise to the Claimant for the matters that have given rise to this claim. Whilst I do not accept all of the allegations levied against me, the majority of them are not disputed. I am ashamed of my past behaviour and disappointed by my lack of judgement over a period of time. I recognise that my actions have caused the Claimant considerable upset. I very much regret this and have given my assurances to the Claimant that there will be no repetition of the conduct complained of […].”
Paul Curran and Curran Consulting have agreed to pay damages to Lindsey Goldrick Dean and also to pay her legal costs. They also agreed to a number of legally binding undertakings akin to equitable remedies, which were set out in a consent order between the parties dated 14 June 2018, and which was approved by the court.
This case required a tremendous amount of resources. Harassment lawyer, Yair Cohen and his firm Cohen Davis Solicitor agreed that their legal costs will only be paid if they succeed in the claim against Paul Curran and his company. Cohen Davis solicitors is very grateful to the Barrister Gabor Bognar of Outer Temple Chambers who worked on the case completely free under the auspice of the Bar Pro-Bono Unit.
Do you suffer from harassment on the internet? Call free on 0800 612 7211 to speak to a specialist harassment lawyer