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Dublin: 8 °C Monday 22 April, 2019

Irish badminton player ordered to pay €30k for assaulting and defaming woman

Nigel Boyne was told by a judge today to pay the manager of Baldoyle Badminton Centre, Jean Denihan, €30,000 in damages.

Image: Shutterstock/l i g h t p o e t

INTERNATIONAL BADMINTON PLAYER Nigel Boyne was told by a judge today to pay the manager of Baldoyle Badminton Centre, Jean Denihan, €30,000 damages for assaulting and defaming her.

Boyne, of Elm Mount Lawn, Beaumont, Dublin, donned a Star Wars-like mask under a hooded jacket as he ran from the Four Courts following the decision of Circuit Court President, Justice Raymond Groarke.

In his verdict, Judge Groarke accepted that as Boyne wrestled on the floor with another badminton player at a fundraiser in the Baldoyle Centre his hand came into contact with Denihan causing her to fall backwards in a whiplash-type fashion as she tried to separate them.

The judge said Boyne then went on Facebook to paint 57-year-old Denihan as “the evil one of Baldoyle” and likened her to a witch – saying that he would get rid of her from Baldoyle by burning her at a stake.

“This is a most regrettable case because it involves two people who share a great love for a particular sport but it happens, people fall out with one another,” he said.

Judge Groarke told barrister Barney Quirke, who appeared with solicitors Bowler Geraghty for Denihan, that Boyne’s remarks on Facebook specifically related to his client.

He had not just used strong language or colourful terminology but a very serious description of Denihan as evil to the point of being a witch deserving of treatment meted out to witches in medieval times.

Standing over the comments

In cross-examination by Quirke today Boyne said he stood by what he had said about Denihan and what Judge Groarke said he had published to the wider badminton community on the internet.

Judge Groarke said the matter went back to a tournament in which Boyne had not been allowed to take part in because of his status as a Division 1 player. He blamed Denihan when, in fact, it had been an executive committee that had banned him from playing.

At a fundraiser in Baldoyle Badminton Centre on 5 April 2013 Boyne had become involved in an incident with another player Barry Dickson. As they wrestled on the floor Denihan, manager of the centre, bent over to try to separate them.

She had told the court Boyne grabbed her by the throat and it was only the efforts of other people that stopped his fist from connecting with her face.

Judge Groarke said Denihan had suffered trauma and stress with loss of confidence.

The court’s main difficulty was Boyne’s persistence in “standing over” the allegations he had posted on Facebook and repeated in court as to what he thought and said about Denihan.

He told Quirke that Denihan was entitled to recover damages of €30,000 for defamation and assault against Boyne together with legal costs. He refused a stay on the court’s orders pending an appeal.

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Ray Managh

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