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Dublin: 18 °C Wednesday 5 August, 2020

Anti-eviction campaigner given one month suspended sentence over social media video

Gilroy admitted making the remarks on a video clip posted on social media.

Ben Gilroy
Ben Gilroy

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 on Mr Gilroy by Mr Justice Tony O’Connor for remarks made 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.

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

The remarks included describing the judge as a being a member of “a satanic cult member” who in his decision to jail the couple had made the Irish Constitution “redundant”.

Mr Gilroy had also said clip the judge “had vacated his oath of office,” 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 be in criminal contempt of the court and adjourned the matter to allow Mr Gilroy respond or obtain legal advice in the matter.

Yesterday 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.

The judge in handing down the sentence said the one month suspended sentence is to remain in place for a period of 30 months on conditions including that 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.

KBC obtained the injunction directing them to vacate their home on foot of a Circuit Court possession order the bank obtained in 2016.

It claimed the couple failed to comply. They were released after they agreed to comply with the court order to leave their home at Hamlet Avenue, Chieftain’s Way, Balbriggan, Co Dublin.

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Aodhan O Faolain

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