Today a court in Bray, Co. Wicklow found Gemma O’Doherty guilty of resisting arrest, intending to breach the peace, and refusing to provide her name and address to gardaí. Gardaí arrested the former journalist and failed politician while she was livestreaming from a footbridge over the N11 in Kilmacanogue on 23 August last year.
O’Doherty has announced her intention to appeal the verdict.
Supporters of O’Doherty, holding signs with anti-vaccination slogans, gathered outside Bray District Court this morning where they heard her speak. In front of roughly 30 people the conspiracy theorist compared herself to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and claimed that she’d likely be found guilty by the judge because of her work. She explained to the crowd how the COVID-19 vaccine has resulted in thousands of deaths and that the state has covered it up. O’Doherty also insisted that “we must return to God”.
As O’Doherty entered the court tensions rose as gardaí stopped a number of her supporters from also attending the court. Some of the crowd accused the gardaí of “corruption” and referred to them as “puppets”. At one stage O’Doherty’s supporters chanted “Shame on you” at the gardaí.
During a brief lunchtime recess she again addressed the now larger crowd, telling them her defence was “rock solid” and the case is really about “freedom of speech”.
Gardaí initially arrested her in August under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994. But at a subsequent hearing in December she was charged with one count each of intending to breach the peace, refusing to provide her name and address to gardaí, and with resisting arrest.
The court ruled against O’Doherty however, finding her guilty on the three counts she was charged with. She’s been given a two-month suspended sentence and a €750 fine but has told supporters outside Bray District Court she’ll appeal the result.
O’Doherty has faced a series of legal setbacks over the last 18 months.
In June 2020, along with John Waters, she lost an attempt to challenge the government’s lockdown legislation in the High Court. In March this year they lost their appeal of the judgement in the Court of Appeal which ruled in favour of the original High Court decision. It’s understood that O’Doherty and Waters face legal bills of over €100,000 as a result.
Separately in October 2020 a judge awarded costs against O’Doherty in a defamation case Dublin councillor Jimmy Guerin had taken against her. The judge argued that she’d made a number of “unsubstantiated complaints” about Guerin’s legal team. And that she hadn’t appropriately accounted for claims that she ignored a summons server by saying “Sorry. No”.
Earlier this summer the High Court also issued an injunction against the far-right activist on behalf of Beaumont Hospital. It came after O’Doherty claimed in a series of videos related to the COVID-19 vaccine that the hospital was in breach of international law and was running a “drug pushing operation” by “pushing this vaccine in this hospital”. Judge Senan Allen granted the injunction, ruling that she had no “reasonable prospect of establishing” her claims about Beaumont and its staff.
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