A Bridge, Three Fascists
For those who realise that everything in the mainstream media is lies, a chronology of events leading to the arrest of Gemma O’Doherty on August 28th, 2020, and subsequent events in Bray Garda Station
John Waters Sep 30
On the afternoon of Friday August 28th, Gemma O’Doherty and several Anti-Corruption Ireland (ACI) colleagues were conducting a demonstration/public information exercise on the footbridge adjacent to the Circle K petrol station allowing pedestrian access over the N11 at Kilmacanogue, Co Wicklow. As usual, they had draped several banners over the bridge to attract the passing attention of motorists as they drove underneath. The banners related to the current situation vis a vis the SARS-CoV-2 virus and consequent lockdown, and specifically to the dangers of face masks, the imminent threat of forced vaccinations and the corruption of the national broadcaster, RTÉ. The slogans on the three banners read: ‘No Forced Vaccines’; ‘Masks Spread Germs’ and ‘RTE Is The Virus.’
At approximately 4pm, the ACI team had put in place the last of the banners, bearing the legend ‘No Forced Vaccines’, when two Gardai from Bray station arrived and demanded that they remove the banners and disperse. As the banners had been safely secured to the side of the bridge, and Gardai had on a number of previous occasions confirmed to Gemma that the placing of banners on bridges is perfectly lawful, Gemma’s ACI colleagues protested against this diktat and asked the Gardai what law they were relying upon to require that the banners be removed. At this point, Gemma was not present on the bridge but was shortly summoned there by her colleagues. The Gardai claimed that the banners were creating an ‘obstruction’ by causing drivers to become distracted. In fact, it is commonplace that such banners be draped from bridges along the main arterial roads into Dublin during the All-Ireland football season and during election campaigns. In the months since the alleged pandemic was declared in March, drivers have been assailed by Covid-19 posters and electronic information screens all along the M50 and other major motorways and roads, without incident or complaint. On a previous occasion, Wicklow County Council representatives had carried out a check of the ACI banners on the same bridge and confirmed that ACI were within their rights in displaying banners there, provided they were adequately secured. Indeed, on the day after the incidents described herein, Saturday August 29th, anti-lockdown banners were placed on the dual carriageway bridge at RTE over the N11 and remained there in the presence of numerous members of An Garda Siochana for the duration of a lengthy protest outside and inside the main gate of RTÉ.
Gemma O’Doherty arrived on the bridge and immediately began to film the proceedings using her mobile phone, streaming her events live to her followers via her website, www.gemmaodoherty.com.
She approached one of the two Garda officers, Garda WW252, and asked him to state the law he was using to order the removal of the banners. He said they were a visual distraction to the general public and motorists. Gemma denied this and told the two Garda officers that she and her colleagues were exercising their Constitutional rights under Article 40 Section 6 of Bunreacht na hÉireann. They explained that many varieties of banners were placed on bridges all the time and they had been assured by numerous authorities that it was perfectly lawful. Gemma again asked Garda WW252 to produce the law but he would not do so. Instead, he simply continued to say they were causing an obstruction/distraction that was adversely affecting motorists passing underneath. A member of the public, a middle-aged woman, approached along the bridge and, overhearing the conversation, told the Garda officers that the demonstrators were doing nothing wrong and urged them to desist from harassing them.
At this point a third Garda officer, who was not wearing an identification number, arrived and, without addressing anyone, produced a bladed instrument and began cutting at the ties securing the banners to the bridge. In due course it would emerge that this officer was Garda Joseph Waldron. Somewhat older than the other two officers, he appeared to assume automatic and immediate charge of the situation. When he appeared on the bridge, he did not consult with his two colleagues, who were continuing to argue and debate with the ACI demonstrators, but set immediately to cutting the ties of the banners with the clear purpose of removing them. Gemma O’Doherty approached him and told him he was committing criminal damage and was behaving like ‘a gangster’. He did not respond and continued cutting the banners from the bridge. Remonstrating further with Garda Waldron, who continued to ignore her requests for him to desist from removing the banners, she called him a ‘thug’, and also referred to the three Garda officers collectively as ‘cowards’ and ‘traitors to the Irish people’. She also referred to her general experience of dealing with the force in her work as a journalist, referring to the force in general as ‘the scum of the earth’. As video of the incident confirms, these remarks were uttered in little more than conversational tones to those within earshot, including several uninvolved members of the public, and those watching on her livestream. They were not addressed in an aggressive fashion to any particular Garda officer, nor even to the gardai in general. They were certainly not directed in any manner as to be deemed ‘threatening’ or ‘abusive’.
Having removed the last of the banners, the still unidentified Garda officer Joseph Waldron, apparently speaking to all within earshot, said ‘step this way now’ and took out his notebook. He then demanded ‘Identification’. He did not issue any of the caution formulations required to be addressed to persons suspected of committing an offence before a lawful arrest may be made.
At this point, Gemma O’Doherty walked away from him and said: ‘You won’t be getting my name and address.’ Waldron then muttered something about the Public Order Act, but did not specify any offence amounting to probable cause, issue a caution, or refer to any piece of legislation being relied upon to remove the banners.
Gemma O’Doherty was at this stage becoming extremely anxious. As an investigative journalist who had spent more than a decade writing about corruption in An Garda Siochana, she had ruffled the feathers of many members of the force by her determined efforts to expose Garda wrongdoing and corruption. Several of her investigations have led to the reopening of murder cases covered up by the Gardai including that of Mary Boyle and Fr Niall Molloy. She had good reason to believe that many members of the force, including some of the most senior officers past and present, had gone to great lengths to silence her, though without success. The record of the Disclosures Tribunal, for example, cites a former head of the Garda Press Office admitting that members of the force interfered in her employment with INM arising from her journalistic exposure of details of the attempted framing of Maurice McCabe.
Waldron was by now shouting in a highly aggressive manner. He appeared now to be concentrating solely on Gemma, although at least three other ACI activists were present and had been at least as vocal as she had been. One individual, indeed, had been far more vocal throughout, and had actually claimed that the banners belonged to her, but was mysteriously ignored by Waldron, who would subsequently claim that he had no idea who Gemma O’Doherty was. He said to Gemma: ‘I am demanding your name and address.‘ He made a passing reference to the Public Order Act, but at no time stated that Gemma O’Doherty was under suspicion for any offences, nor did he specify the particular nature of the offence that had caused him and his colleagues to attend at the bridge, nor explain the ‘probably cause’ of their actions or demands, nor did he warn of the consequences that might ensue if Gemma did not comply. He violently grabbed Gemma from behind as she was walking away. He did not caution Gemma, other than by his physical menaces and vague utterances. Neither did he alert her to the possibility that she might be liable to prosecution, nor acquaint her of any potential consequences of failing to provide her name and address. Gemma continued to film and the video record shows that he pulled her down to the ground close to the railing of the bridge, at which point the video cut out. (There are, however, several other video records of these events, which together provide a total audio and video document of the full sequence of events from the arrival of the two Garda officers requiring that the banners be removed. These videos demonstrate that the gardai lied repeatedly and in concert concerning the events that day.)
Waldron proceeded to propel Gemma back across the bridge to the steps on the far side. She was still holding in her hand a bundle of leaflets relating to the Covid-19 ‘pandemic’ and became concerned that, as a result of Waldron’s aggressive actions, the leaflets might fall from her hand and scatter on to the road below, possibly posing a genuine threat to passing motorists. She asked Waldron if she could be relieved of the leaflets but was ignored. She also told him that she had a shoulder injury and was suffering pain arising from the way he was manhandling her, but was ignored. When they reached the top of the steps, Gemma put her hand out to the handrail to steady herself. Waldron would later claim that she had ‘jumped’ at the handrail and ‘grabbed’ it with both hands, clinging on to it for ‘between one and three minutes’, requiring him to ‘gently’ prise her fingers from It. This was his justification for handcuffing Gemma. In due course, on being handcuffed by Waldron, she was ordered by one of the Garda officers to drop the leaflets, whereupon they fell on to the bridge. Later, at Bray Garda station, Waldron would accuse her of deliberately dropping the leaflets.Because she had recently suffered a severe injury to her lower shoulder, it became the occasion of severe pain if she attempted to move her right arm in certain backward movements. She pleaded with the Garda officers to treat her arm more gently, but was ignored. She had been for physiotherapy the day before and the therapist had told here that she had never encountered such a strain, that Gemma’a right arm was completely ‘frozen’. Gemma tried to explain this to Waldron and the other Garda officers, but they brushed her protestations aside and continued to force her arms behind her back in order to attach the handcuffs. Due to her injured arm, Gemma could not voluntarily move her arm into the position they were seeking to force it into so as to place the handcuffs on her wrists. As he forces her downwards, Waldron can be heard on recordings of the incident shouting ‘Stop resisting’, despite the fact that Gemma is at this stage being forcibly restrained by two officers twice her size and unable to move.
At this point, in severe pain and anxiety, Gemma said to Waldron that she would provide her name and address, which she then did. She stated her name as Gemma O’Doherty and address as ‘The Gables, Foxrock. He said: ‘That’s not a proper address.’ In fact, it is the official address that Gemma uses for all her business affairs. She informed Waldron of this, stating that a court order was in existence confirming this, but he remained adamant that she had given him an incorrect address. Yet, Waldron and the other officers persistently claimed to know nothing about Gemma O’Doherty — had never heard of her — prior to charging her in Bray Garda Station some time later.
Gemma was then, in an aggressive manner, led down the steps of the bridge in front of a number of people in the forecourt of the Circle K garage. She was put into the rear of a waiting squad car and forced to sit on her handcuffed hands. She pleaded with the Garda officers to remove the handcuffs but they refused. The Gardai left Gemma sitting in the car for perhaps 20 minutes to half an hour. A car radio came on and she tried to explain to the officer speaking that she had been unlawfully arrested and was in severe pain, but got no response.
Waldron then returned to the vehicle brandishing a face mask and said he was going to force Gemma to wear it. Gemma said that under no circumstances was he to touch her again. The three Garda officers surrounded the door of the squad car, causing Gemma to fear she was about to be assaulted again. The door beside her was then slammed and one of the Garda officers (not Waldron) got into the car and sat beside her. Officer WW252 got into the driving seat and the car moved off. In the course of the short journey to Bray Garda station, Gemma asked the Garda officers to release her handcuffs, offering to allow her left arm to be handcuffed to some fixture in order to release her injured right arm. The officers refused her entreaties.
Gemma prayed to remain calm. She had no idea where they were taking her, and they refused to say. Indeed, they did not speak to her at all, apart from the initial demand that she wear a face mask. On arrival at Bray Garda station, the car was driven to the rear of the station and Gemma was manhandled out of the vehicle, causing her arm to be pulled yet again. In the holding area, Gemma questioned the basis of her arrest and reiterated that she had committed no crime. She was ignored. She asked to contact a solicitor and informed the Garda officers present that she had not been read her rights, that her arrest was unlawful and that she had been assaulted and as a result had suffered a serious renewal of the injury to her arm. Again, she was ignored. Initially, Gemma declined to provide her name and address to the female Garda dealing with her case, but after a short time relented in order to escape from the situation. She was asked by a female Garda to give personal details for a form, which she provided. She again gave her Foxrock address.
The Garda officers then demanded that Gemma remove several personal items, including her wedding ring and a crucifix she wore around her neck.
Gemma believes that at this stage one of the officers read her her rights, but by then she was in so much pain that she was unable to take in much of what was happening. She stressed that she needed to have somebody present. By this time there were at least six Garda officers in the area, some coming and going seemingly at will. At one point, such was the level of aggression on display that she began to fear that her life might be in danger. Being aware of several innocent people who had died mysteriously in Garda custody, she began to wonder if something similar might be about to befall her. She again asked for a lawyer, but was told that this was not possible at that moment but would be permitted at a later stage.
Around this time, Garda Waldron began to harangue Gemma, saying inter alia the following:
· That she did not pay taxes.
· That she had ‘nothing better to do’ with her time.
· That she had deliberately scattered the leaflets on the bridge.
Gemma asked to call a colleague, John Waters, but Garda Waldron refused to permit this, saying ‘John Waters was involved in the incident’, a patent untruth. This assertion notwithsanding, Waldron would, in the 13 months while the case was pending, hold to the fiction that he had no idea whom he was dealing with. Gemma said that John Waters had nothing to do with it. Waldron said Waters was ‘biased’ and she would not be permitted to contact him.
In fact, around this time, having heard of Gemma’s situation, I had telephoned Bray Garda station, to be refused any information concerning Gemma, including even confirmation that she was being held at the station. The male Garda who answered my call simply repeated several times that he could not ‘reveal details of an ongoing investigation.’ Several people had similar experience of contacting the station during the two hours or so for which Gemma was held: all were refused any information.
Increasingly concerned for Gemma’a safety, I then proceeded to Bray Garda station, arriving there about 6.15pm, about 75 minutes after she had arrived there, and half-an-hour before she was to be charged.
Gemma had been searched and put into a cell which emanated a strong stench of urine. Garda officers forced her to take off her cardigan so that she was left wearing only a light sleeveless top. She asked for water because her throat was dry but this was a long time coming. Again she asked if she could speak to a lawyer but again was refused. She had still not been told what offence she was accused of. She informed the Gardai holding her that they were breaking many international conventions that protect the rights of citizens and journalists but Waldron’s response at all times consisted in abuse and ridicule.
Gemma remained in her cell. The female Garda who had processed the case earlier eventually reappeared and said Gemma could now make contact with a lawyer. She had no phone but knew that a lawyer friend could be contacted online. The female Garda got his number and Gemma spoke to him briefly about what was happening. Her lawyer friend was unable to become involved directly, but he advised her to contact a solicitor in Bray. Gemma then spoke to this solicitor, Brendan Maloney.
On the way back to the cell, Gemma asked the female Garda accompanying her if she could use the bathroom. The officer said that this would be permitted provided she (the female Garda) came into the toilet with Gemma. Gemma said that would not be possible as she would be unable to go to the bathroom with another person present. The female Garda insisted that no other arrangement was possible. Gemma believed that this, and other responses and behaviours she had encountered since arriving at the station, was an attempt to provoke her into a reaction which could be used to retroactively legitimate her illegal arrest and detention. Every time the cell door was closed, it was slammed shut. Gemma was in no doubt that this was another intimidation technique to try to break her psychologically and possibly provoke her into some retaliatory action.
The Garda officers dealing with Gemma continued to refuse to tell her how long she would be held for. Gemma was left alone in her cell for an extended period, until the female Garda returned. At one stage the female Garda told Gemma she was going to be released in ten minutes but at least a further 20 minutes went by. She was eventually released just after 7pm.
Around this time, I arrived at the Garda station and was told that Gemma was about to be released. Approximately 45 minutes later, Gemma was indeed set free.
The female Garda finally reappeared and said, ‘You are being released.’ Gemma estimated the time then to be about 7pm. Waldron reappeared in the holding area. He was still displaying no identification number. He was again aggressive and abusive to Gemma and produced two charge sheets. Gemma said she did not have reading glasses and so could not properly see what she was signing. When she read the charge sheets, she saw that someone had put the wrong address on it. She requested Waldron to change the address, but he refused, saying the address was one they had on the system and he was using it whether Gemma liked it or not. Gemma reiterated that this was not the address currently in use and referred to a court order of Justice Humphreys the previous fortnight ordering that this address not be published. Waldron then started to raise his voice again and threatened to rearrest Gemma. He took out his notebook and wrote down: ‘She had another rant’, in reference to Gemma’s request to change the address.
Gemma’s property was put back on the desk and a set of Rosary beads which had been taken from her earlier were thrown at her. Just after 7pm, she was released and was met in the public reception room by me. I immediately took Gemma to the Blackrock Clinic with the intention of having her shoulder x-rayed, but the A&E department was closed. We went to St Vincent’s Public Hospital, where Gemma was told she would have to wait for several hours to be seen. We then went to Blackrock Garda Station and Gemma informed the duty officer that she wished to make a criminal complaint against Garda Joseph Waldron for assault. We were kept waiting in the office for about an hour. Eventually, after repeated requests to the desk officer, we were asked to come into an office off the main lobby, where Gemma made a statement to Garda Alan Butler (38676F). The following Monday, Gemma received an email from GSOC conveying that An Garda Siochana would not be carrying out any investigation into her complaint.
Throughout all of the foregoing, in the lobby of Bray Garda station there continued to hang a framed poster (pictured) listing the articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, half-concealed behind a dog-eared Covid poster.
Thanks for subscribing to John Waters Unchained. This post is public, so feel free to share it.