Contempt of court proceedings against Gemma O’Doherty adjourned to July

Former journalist alleged to have failed to comply with order to stop contacting woman whose son took his own life

Gemma O'Doherty was not in court on Wednesday. Photograph: Collins Courts

Contempt of court proceedings against Gemma O’Doherty over her alleged harassment of the mother of a young man who took his own life have been adjourned to a date in July.

The adjournment was sought to allow Edel Campbell’s lawyers address a claim made in the proceedings by Ms O’Doherty regarding third-party funding of the plaintiff’s case.

Ms O’Doherty, who was not in court on Wednesday, claims the plaintiff has broken the law preventing third-party funding of legal actions, known as “champerty and maintenance”.

She said a fundraiser, allegedly for legal expenses, was organised for Ms Campbell. It allegedly raised more than €24,000 and Ms O’Doherty has reported the matter to gardaí.


Many of the donors to this fundraiser where anonymous, Ms O’Doherty said.

Ms Campbell’s side deny any wrongdoing and reject Ms O’Doherty’s claims.

Ms Campbell, of Kingscourt, Co Cavan, has sued Ms O’Doherty, trading as “The Irish Light”, over the alleged unauthorised use of an image of Ms Campbell’s late son Diego Gilsenan. The photo was used in an Irish Light article linking unexplained deaths to the Covid-19 vaccine.

Ms Campbell secured an injunction restraining Ms O’Doherty, who rejects all Ms Campbell’s claims against her, from harassing the plaintiff.

It is alleged that Ms O’Doherty has not complied with that order and Ms Campbell sought orders that could see the defendant sent to prison for contempt due to the alleged breaches.

Ms O’Doherty strongly rejects that she is in contempt of court.

The matter was briefly mentioned before Mr Justice Mark Sanfey on Wednesday.

Paul Comiskey O’Keeffe BL, instructed by solicitor Ciaran Mulholland, for Ms Campbell said that his side was seeking time to produce an additional sworn statement in the action. Counsel said it was to address an issue raised by Ms O’Doherty regarding third-party funding.

Counsel said while Ms O’Doherty was not in court, the parties had been notified in advance that the matter was due to be mentioned before the courts on Wednesday.

The judge said he was prepared to allow the plaintiff’s side produce the sworn statement, but said that Ms O’Doherty should be allowed to reply to that document before the matter returns before the court in early July.

The judge, who expressed concern that the defendant was not in court, also directed the plaintiff to inform the defendant of the court’s decision regarding the exchange of further statements in the case.

Previously another judge of the court rejected Ms O’Doherty’s claim that he was biased against her as a basis for not continuing to hear the contempt proceedings against her.

However, Mr Justice Conor Dignam said while he was satisfied she had not met the legal test for bias and for him to recuse himself, another judge can be available to hear further matters in the action.

Last year Mr Justice Dignam had granted the original injunction against Ms O’Doherty.