A 22-YEAR-OLD student and mother of one who, a court was told, allegedly called a security guard a “fucking asshole,” a “dickhead” and a “thick shit,” has been awarded damages for defamation in the Circuit Civil Court in a case against his employer.
Jodie Hayes told the court that in May 2013 she had been with friends at River Island store in the Ilac Shopping Centre, Dublin, when she was asked to leave the shop by security guard Wayne Mitchell.
She said when she asked him why, Mitchell had told her ‘you know why’ and directed her out of the store.
She had been embarrassed in front of friends and other customers.
Hayes, of Rory O’Connor House, Hardwicke Street Flats, Dublin, denied calling Mitchell the names which were later described in detail to Judge John Hannan.
She sued security company Vision Security Group Ltd, of Suite 6 Plaza, 256 Blanchardstown Corporate Park, Ballycoolin.
The company denied having accused Ms Hayes of shoplifting.
Mitchell told the court that the store management had taken the decision to bar Ms Hayes from the store after she had been very abusive two weeks before the incident, when she was asked to leave the store after one of her friends allegedly removed a security tag off an item.
The court heard there had been no suspicion that Ms Hayes had done anything suspicious.
Hayes said Mitchell had told her she could come back to the store when she had calmed down.
She told Judge Hannan she did not know she had been barred.
Judge Hannan said he accepted Ms Hayes had been defamed. He said he was satisfied that “words” had been spoken to Mr Mitchell, but Ms Hayes had left the store thinking that she could come back.
The judge said although Mr Mitchell had tried to do his best, when Ms Hayes did come back to the store, the security guard took the decision to approach her and spoke to her in front of her friends and other customers.
Judge Hannan, awarding Hayes €7,500 damages along with her legal costs, said she had not suffered any significant injury out of this incident and her shopping habits in the store had not been affected.
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