Gemma O’Doherty given further week to turn up in court over alleged contempt

Case concerns an action by Edel Campbell who is suing Ms O’Doherty over use of deceased son’s image

Journalist Gemma O’Doherty has been given another week to turn up to answer why she should not be imprisoned for contempt of the High Court.

Earlier this month, a judge ordered that she must come before the court on Friday to answer her alleged refusal to obey an order not to harass the mother of a young man who took his own life.

Ms O’Doherty was not in court when the case came up again on Friday but Mr Justice Mark Sanfey agreed to adjourn it for another week.

Lawyers for the mother had asked for the extra week to allow them to serve on the Garda notice of the order seeking the journalist’s attachment and committal to prison. Where a person refuses voluntarily to come before the court, gardaí must then bring them in.


The case concerns an action by Edel Campbell who is suing Ms O’Doherty, over the use of her deceased son’s image in the Irish Light newspaper, which is edited by Ms O’Doherty.

Ms O’Doherty was ordered to remove images of Mrs Campbell’s late son Diego from any media platforms under the defendant’s control, or from publishing any images of herself and her family on any medium.

It was claimed that in a series of video posts by Ms O’Doherty on dates in June, July, August and September of last year the defendant has made statements clearly disregarding and in breach of the court’s orders.

This led to the application which could ultimately see her jailed for contempt. Ms O’Doherty denies any wrongdoing.

In agreeing to Ms Campbell’s lawyers application for an adjournment for a week so gardaí can be served with the attachment and committal papers, the judge said he would also give liberty for there to be an earlier appearance if that is appropriate.

He said the court had received an email from Ms O’Doherty making certain requests. However, he said the court does not correspond with a person by email. Ms O’Doherty had been allowed to turn up before another judge who dealt with this case and had not done so, he said.

She was served with attachment and committal papers and then filed an affidavit in response but she did not turn up in court, he said.

He said she now seems to want to communicate remotely but not in person, which was the whole purpose of the attachment proceedings, which he was not going to allow.

In the circumstances, he adjourned the matter for a week.

In a separate case concerning Ms O’Doherty, another judge, Mr Justice Tony O’Connor, confirmed an order he made last month concerning public comments being made by her about a legal team for Fingal County Councillor Jimmy Guerin.

Mr Guerin is suing Ms O’Doherty claiming she called him a paedophile. She claims Mr Guerin knows she was referring to his brother, Martin Guerin, who is a convicted paedophile. A jury failed to reach a verdict in that defamation trial last November and a retrial will have to take place.

In the meantime, the parties were urged by Mr Justice O’Connor to “temper” public remarks but Mr Guerin says Ms O’Doherty has extended her defamatory commentary to include his (Guerin’s) legal team.

Mr Guerin’s team sought take down orders over the material and a prohibition on publication of material relating to the lawyers.

Mr Justice O’Connor ruled on Friday that she is prohibited from maintaining, repeating or publishing through any medium any posts which assert or imply allegedly defamatory allegations about Mr Guerin’s legal team.

He refused applications that she remove certain publications. The case is due to return next month for Mr Guerin’s application seeking to amend his statement of claim to include new commentary from Ms O’Doherty.

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