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Home / News / Gemma O’Doherty appears in court in harassment case

Gemma O’Doherty appears in court in harassment case

Gemma O’Doherty has told the High Court that a case taken against her over her alleged harassment of the mother of a young man who died by suicide is part of a targeted campaign funded by third parties who are out to silence her.

Ms O’Doherty was arrested at her home this morning and brought before the High Court over an alleged breach of an injunction ordering her not to harass Edel Campbell.

Ms Campbell is suing Ms O’Doherty over the use of a picture of her late son Diego Gilsenan in an article questioning the deaths of young people.

Ms O’Doherty had previously failed to attend court but said today she had been abroad and was refused a virtual hearing.

Last June Ms Campbell’s lawyers obtained orders from the court against Ms O’Doherty, including an injunction restraining the defendant from harassing, intimidating or communicating with the plaintiff and her family.

Ms Campbell claims the order has been breached on “numerous occasions” by Ms O’Doherty.

It is claimed that in a series of video posts made by Ms O’Doherty on dates in June, July, August and September of last year, and earlier this year, the defendant has made statements in clear disregard and in breach of the injunction.

In court today Ms O’Doherty said she could not comply with what she said was “an illegal injunction” because the case before the court was being funded by third parties, which was not permissable under Irish law.

She also denied ever harassing Ms Campbell and said anything she ever said about the woman was in response to “outrageous allegations” Ms Campbell made about her on national radio when she described her as hating Ms Campbell.

Ms Doherty said “what I am involved in is love. Its about love and compassion, I don’t hate anyone”.

She said anything she had ever said was to defend her good name and she could not conceive of hurting or harassing another human being.

Ms O’Doherty had earlier explained to Judge Conor Dignam that a “postage stamp size” picture of Diego Gilsenan which was available publicly was printed along with several others in conjunction with an article in her newspaper The Irish Light.

She said the purpose of the article was to question the deaths of so many young people in Ireland. Ms O’Doherty said it was her job as an investigative journalist to do this.

She said she never said Ms Campbell’s son had died from a vaccine but was accused of doing so.

Instead, she said it was she who was subjected to harassment and destruction of her good name.

She said further investigation into the death of Ms Campbell’s son led to her raising a number of questions after she obtained the coroner’s report on the inquest into his death.

Inquests were public events, she said, and journalists were entitled to publish reports and ask questions surrounding them, especially when they concern the death of a young person.

Ms O’Doherty said she still believed Ms Campbell had questions to answer and made numerous points about the conduct of the inquest which she described as “a shambles”.

Judge Conor Dignam said he was not carrying out an inquiry into those matters, to which Ms O’Doherty replied: “yes but I am, because that is my job.”.

She told the judge that her work had resulted in numerous cases which had not been properly investigated by the authorities and also said she had “awards on her mantlepiece” for her work as a journalist.

She also told the judge if he were to send her “to jail for journalism” he would be the first to do so and “it will go all around the world and I wouldn’t like to be in your shoes if you do”.

Ms O’Doherty repeatedly claimed the case was being funded by third parties which was illegal and therefore any injunction against her was also illegal.

Asked if there was evidence to support that claim, she said there as a GoFundMe page the judge could look at.

As she had been arrested at her home this morning and not even allowed to take a handbag she had no papers with her in court, she said.

She accused the legal team acting for Ms Campbell of taking part in an illegal case and said a complaint had been made to gardaí in this respect.

Senior Counsel for Ms Campbell David Kennedy said it was news to him that he was being investigated by gardaí.

He said there was in existence a crowd funding page which had raised €24,234 but that the work being done for Ms Campbell, given that this was now a 12th court application, was effectively being done pro bono.

Mr Kennedy said his client had taken this case as a last resort after after various broadcasts by the defendant in which his client was “vilified and abused and the circumstances of her son’s tragic death by suicide were misrepresented and his character vilfied as well.”

He said the court had previously found that what happened constituted harassment and intimidation giving rise to the injunction.

Mr Kennedy said the court could see from Ms O’Doherty’s attitude today she was “unrepentant” and there was no attempt to silence her, but rather it was an attempt to get her to stop harassing Ms Campbell.

He said this was the first time she had shown up in court to answer the case and had previously evaded service with gardaí calling to her various residences on more than 20 occasions.

He said there was ongoing abuse and vilification of his client while a court order remained in place restraining the defendant from doing so.

As an example he read out to the judge some of the comments allegedly made by Ms O’Doherty, including: “the mother is in on this case too she deserves no sympathy for what she has been involved in, the lies, the lies, the lies”

Mr Kennedy said another comment was made saying “the inquest shows she has many questions to answer. I would be looking inwards.”

Mr Kennedy said the court had previously ruled this constituted a breach of the injunction currently in place, leading to a further order for her to be arrested and brought before the court.

Ms O’Doherty pointed out to the judge that she had been arrested at her home and had not eaten all day.

She had no legal representation and had no papers with her.

The judge said all those issues needed to be addressed and he would adjourn the case to Friday.

Ms O’Doherty asked if she was to be released from custody to which the judge replied yes, but said she must give an undertaking to attend court on Friday.

Ms O’Doherty asked if she should bring a suitcase on Friday to which the judge replied: “Yes, in the event that I decide the case against you.”

He adjourned the case until Friday.

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