Prosecution against former journalist for district court next month

Gemma O’Doherty was arrested on public order offences in relation to displaying banners over N11

Gemma O’Doherty. File photograph: Nick Bradshaw for The Irish Times

Gemma O’Doherty. File photograph: Nick Bradshaw for The Irish Times

 

A criminal prosecution against former journalist, Gemma O’Doherty, arising over the erection of banners on a footbridge over the N11 in Kilmacanogue, Co Wicklow in August will go ahead at Bray District Court next month unless further directions in the case are issued by the DPP.

Judge David Kennedy ruled the case should proceed at a sitting of the court on December 14th unless the DPP had decided by then that Ms O’Doherty should face further charges in relation to the incident.

The case had previously been adjourned in September to allow the DPP time to consider the matter.

Ms O’Doherty (52), an anti-immigration campaigner and leader of one of several rival groups opposed to the Government’s restrictions to combat the Covid-19 pandemic, was arrested on August 28th, on public order offences in relation to the displaying of banners on a pedestrian bridge over the main Dublin-Wexford road at Kilmacanogue.

Gardaí­ received a number of complaints about the banners, which contained anti-facemask and anti-vaccination messages, and decided to remove them after observing motorists swerving as a result of being distracted by the signs.

Ms O’Doherty’s solicitor, Brendan Maloney, told a sitting of Bray District Court on Monday that his client was “unhappy with the delay” in the case.

“There is no progress being made with the DPP,” said Mr Maloney.

The solicitor said Ms O’Doherty, who was not in court for the hearing, wished to emphasise that the alleged offences had taken place back in August.

Ms O’Doherty is charged with engaging in threatening and abusive behaviour with intent to provoke a breach of the peace under section 6 of the Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act at Kilmacanogue on August 28th.

Anyone convicted of the offence faces a maximum fine of €500 or prison term of three months or both.

The former Irish Independent journalist is also charged under section 24 of the same legislation with refusing to provide her name and address when demanded by Garda Joseph Waldron.

Anyone convicted of a section 24 offence is liable to a fine of up to €500 or a six-month jail sentence or both.

Ms O’Doherty, who was not required to attend court, remains on continuing bail until December 14th.