Anti eviction campaigner Ben Gilroy gets suspended sentence

He admitted calling judge ‘a satanic cult member’ on video clip posted on social media

 Ben Gilroy  apologised to the court and said his remarks were “out of character”. The clips on social media, the court heard, have been taken down. File photograph: Alan Betson

Ben Gilroy apologised to the court and said his remarks were “out of character”. The clips on social media, the court heard, have been taken down. File photograph: Alan Betson

 

Anti-eviction campaigner Ben Gilroy has been given a one month suspended prison sentence after he admitted being in criminal contempt of court.

The sentence was imposed by Mr Justice Tony O’Connor over remarks made by Mr Gilroy earlier this week when the High Court was hearing contempt of court proceedings against a Dublin couple, Linda and Gordon Smith, over their failure to comply with orders directing them to vacate their home.

Mr Gilroy of Riverview, Athlumney Abbey, Navan, Co Meath, admitted making the remarks on a video clip posted on social media.

The remarks included described the judge as “a satanic cult member” who in his decision to jail the couple had, Mr Gilroy said, made the Constitution “redundant”.

Mr Gilroy had also said in the clip the judge “had vacated his oath of office” and that maybe people should “use the defence of the Dwelling Act” and “just wait for anyone coming through the door and blow their heads off with a gun.”

Mr Justice O’Connor deemed the comments to amount to criminal contempt of court and adjourned the matter to allow Mr Gilroy respond or obtain legal advice.

On Thursday, when the case returned before the judge, Mr Gilroy apologised to the court and said his remarks were “out of character”. The clips, the court heard, have been taken down.

In handing down the sentence, the judge said the one month suspended sentence is to remain in place for 30 months on conditions including Mr Gilroy does not repeat such statements.

Last Tuesday, the Smiths spent a short time in custody after the judge found them in contempt of court for refusing to comply with the terms of an injunction obtained by KBC Bank Ireland Plc in March.

That order directed them to vacate their home at Hamlet Avenue, Chieftain’s Way, Balbriggan, Co Dublin, on foot of a Circuit Court possession order obtained in 2016 by the bank.

The couple were released from custody after they agreed to comply with the court order to leave their home.