Facebook has expressed its sympathy to the family of tragic teenager Nóra Quoirin for the “distress and trauma” caused by the posting of “disturbing and offensive” allegations on the social media platform.
The statement came as the High Court in Dublin was told the defamation case brought by Nóra’s Belfast-born mother Meabh and French father Sebastien against retired solicitor Anne Brennan and Facebook had been settled.
Nóra was found dead nine days after she disappeared from her family’s vacation home at a resort near Kuala Lumpur in 2019.
Declan Doyle SC, for the Quoirins, said the case arose from material published by Ms Brennan in 2019 and 2020 which his clients allege was grossly defamatory.
Mr Doyle, acting on behalf of solicitor Vivienne Barror, told the President of the High Court, Mr Justice David Barniville, that the claims against Ms Brennan and Facebook had been settled.
“The terms of this settlement are confidential between the parties,” he said.
Independent.ie This Morning reported that Ms Brennan had pledged never to speak online again about the Quoirin family or the case as part of the settlement.
The posts referenced a number of controversial and unproven theories about the teenager’s disappearance and death while on holiday in Malaysia in 2019.
Rossa Fanning, solicitor for Facebook, trading as Meta Platforms Ireland Limited, read an agreed statement as part of the settlement with his client.
“On August 4, 2019, Nóra Quoirin went missing while her family was vacationing in Malaysia. Tragically, her body was found nine days later,” the statement said.
“During a distressing time for the Quoirin family in the wake of Nora’s disappearance and subsequent discovery, a Facebook user posted a series of allegations on the Facebook platform that worried and offended Nora’s parents.
“Meta Platforms Ireland Limited appreciates that the allegations made by the user have been distressing to the Quoirin family and takes this opportunity to express its sympathy for the distress and trauma resulting from this user’s allegations.
“Meta Platforms Ireland Limited will continue its efforts to prevent abuse of its platform and to ensure user safety.”
Mr Doyle said the case against both defendants could be dismissed with consent without further warrants.
Mr Justice Barniville, who issued the orders, said he wanted to offer his condolences to Meabh and Sebastien Quoirin, who traveled from their home in the UK to attend the brief hearing.
Afterwards, Meabh Quoirin said the couple will continue their efforts to uncover the full circumstances of their daughter’s death.
“Today marks the end of another chapter in the quest for truth. We are satisfied that this matter is now closed,” she said.
“We will continue our efforts in Malaysia to bring justice to our beloved Nóra. We would like to thank our legal team for all of their support and will not comment further on these proceedings.”
Ms Brennan was not present in court. She told that Irish Independent She was relieved the case was over and would never mention the Quoirin family on social media again.
According to Ms Brennan, the settlement did not include any payment of compensation from her and each side will bear its own legal costs.
Ms Brennan is a former partner in a Dublin law firm and specializes in employment and equality law. In 2014 she retired due to illness.
Her comments about Nóra’s disappearance were removed from Facebook, which also banned her account for 30 days.
Nóra disappeared from her family’s cottage at Dusun Eco Resort, 40 miles south of Kuala Lumpur, on August 4, 2019.
A major search was launched and her body was found next to a small creek about 1.5 miles (2.5 km) from the resort on August 13.
A post-mortem revealed that she succumbed to intestinal bleeding due to starvation and stress.
An inquest found that Nóra died as a result of an accident. Police said there was no evidence she had been kidnapped.
However, her parents appealed the verdict, dismissing the notion that their daughter, who was born with holoprosencephaly, a disorder that affects brain development, could walk alone in the jungle at night.
A Malaysian judge later overturned the inquest verdict and changed it to an open verdict.
The new verdict did not rule out the possibility of criminal involvement.
The judge, Azizul Azmi Adnan, said that balance and coordination issues Nóra faced, coupled with the fact that she tired easily, meant her death was unlikely to have been the result of an accident.
He said she was a shy and reserved child who was not curious and adventurous.
The resort was on a steep hill that Nóra found difficult to cross at night after dark, he concluded.
Judge Adnan said that to leave the site she would have had to climb broken fences or squeeze through gaps in the resort’s gate, and to get to where she was found she would have crossed and climbed rocky streams need and steep slopes down.
The judge said such terrain was difficult for able-bodied adults and noted that Nóra was barefoot when she went missing.
He also said it was unlikely Nóra could have escaped detection in just the six days she is believed to have survived in the jungle.
The resort’s owner admitted that their chalet’s window was broken and could have been opened from the outside, while some fences around the resort were also broken.
Nóra’s mother told the inquest that she heard the “muffled and whispering” sounds of two people in the family home on the morning of her daughter’s disappearance, but was too asleep at the time to take any action.
The family criticized the police investigation, saying officers only began fingerprinting and conducting interviews at the resort a few days after the disappearance. By this time, many people had passed the site.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/courts/disturbing-and-offensive-facebook-sympathises-with-nora-quoirins-parents-as-lawsuit-over-online-posts-is-settled-41854758.html Nóra Quoirin: ‘Disturbing and Offensive’ – Facebook sympathizes with Nóra Quoirin’s parents as online posting dispute is settled