Dublin blogger accused of online harassment of CBeebies presenter

Actress Frances Winston is accused of harassing BBC star Ferne Corrigan

Frances Winston. Photograph via Twitter

Frances Winston. Photograph via Twitter

 

A 44-year-old Dublin woman has appeared in court accused of carrying out a social media harassment campaign directed at a BBC children’s television presenter.

Blogger and actress Frances Winston is accused of harassing CBeebies star Ferne Corrigan online. She was remanded on bail with strict conditions after appearing before Judge Michael Walsh at Dublin District Court on Monday.

Detective Sergeant Jonathan Kelly told the court Ms Winston, who has an address at Rathgar Road, Dublin 6, was arrested at 10.36am on Monday.

She was charged at Irishtown Garda station after which “she made no reply,” he said.

Judge Walsh said she faced a single count under Section 10.1 of the Non Fatal Offences Against the Person Act in which it was alleged on an on-going basis between February 19th, 2016 and May 20th, 2017, at various unknown locations she harrassed Ferne Corrigan.

He described the charge as a “very, very serious offence”.

Corrigan, host ofMy Pet And Me and Ferne and Rory’s Vet Tales, was not present for the hearing.

The Director of Public Prosecutions had directed the case should be dealt with at district court and not in the circuit court, which has tougher sentencing powers.

After hearing an outline of the case against the accused, Judge Walsh accepted jurisdiction.

Detective Sergeant Kelly told the court it was alleged the defendant “engaged in an online campaign of harassment against a named individual who is not resident in the State, and used various social media platforms to harass this individual in a very public way.”

“The injured party is the daughter of the defendant’s former partner,” he said.

Defence solicitor Colleen Gildernew asked for a three-month adjournment and applied for disclosure of prosecution evidence. She successfully resisted the garda’s application for an absolute ban on her client using social media “of any type”.

Judge Walsh imposed bail terms stating Ms Winston cannot have any contact with the injured party, or members of her family and her friends, by any means.

He warned her she could not contact Corrigan and this included social media, emails, “any manner whatsoever”.

Ms Winston has not yet indicated how she will plead.

She nodded and answered “yes” when the judge asked if she would give an undertaking not to contact Corrigan.

She was remanded on bail to appear again on a date in December.

Legal aid was granted to Ms Winston.