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A Irish man has been found guilty of putting a rival sandwich-maker's name and telephone number on a prostitution Web site in the country's first Internet libel case.

Associated Press reports that within two days of being listed on the unnamed site as "Exclusive Maureen", Maureen Walker, owner of Exclusive Sandwiches in the Irish town of Castlerea, Roscommon, received more than 100 lewd calls.

After convincing one punter she really was a caterer, Maureen learned the source of the calls and contacted police. They were able establish rival sandwich maker Francis Kenny was responsible for the blue advert and, confronted with this evidence, he confessed to his transgression.

In a hearing before Judge Carroll Moran last Friday, Kenny was ordered to pay damages in excess of the $11,000 he'd already offered and told he'd also receive a suspended sentence for his crime.

The judge described Kenny's actions as "dreadful" and suggested he'd have received a more severe sentence but for Walker's appeal not to cause hardship to Kenny's wife or two children. Since the start of the case Kenny's business has closed.

During her testimony last month, Walker described her experiences as "a woman's worst nightmare." ®

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