Northern Ireland

Judge warns former TUV councillor Jolene Bunting could face imprisonment for violating injunction against harassing drag queen

Jolene Bunting is to be sentenced later this month. Picture by Niall Carson/PA Wire
Jolene Bunting is to be sentenced later this month. Picture by Niall Carson/PA Wire

A FORMER TUV councillor could face imprisonment for violating an injunction against harassing a drag queen, a judge has warned.

Jolene Bunting is to be sentenced later this month after accepting breaching the order to immediately remove a video about Belfast actor Matthew Cavan from social media platforms.

Mr Cavan told a court he had lost work, been wrongly accused of grooming children, and pursued by paedophile hunters because of the postings.

"I have had sleepless nights, I had to get security cameras and security lights put at the front of my house because I am terrified that these

people are going to arrive at my house," he said.

In July Ms Bunting was involved in protests at a Belfast arts centre where Mr Cavan was taking part in a children's storytime event.

A group 'Parents Against Grooming' held banners which read "hands off our children" outside the MAC theatre.

Mr Cavan subsequently obtained an interim injunction against Ms Bunting over a video posted on YouTube and Twitter. The order required her to take down all relevant content without delay.

With no compliance since then, the ex-councillor appeared at Belfast County Court yesterday to face contempt proceedings.

Ms Bunting's barrister, Richard McLean, confirmed she accepted the breach and has removed the material after obtaining legal advice.

However, counsel for Mr Cavan claimed Ms Bunting waited until the eleventh hour to take down the content and she should receive significant punishment for her "flagrant conduct".

Adjourning the case, Her Honour Judge Harmer said: "I do consider these breaches to be serious, and I want some time to reflect to see whether or not we are in the realms, very unusually in these courts, of a custodial sentence.

"The injunction had the penal notice on it, your client was then served with contempt proceedings and continued with the breach.

"I don't accept for one minute that it was because she didn't have legal advice that she could not discern from those documents the consequences of a breach."