International badminton player Nigel Boyne has been ordered to pay the manager of Baldoyle Badminton Centre €30,000 damages for assault and defamation.
Mr Boyne, of Elm Mount Lawn, Beaumont, Dublin, donned a Star Wars-like mask under a hooded jacket as he ran from the Four Courts complex following the decisionMr Justice Raymond Groarke.
The court heard that as Mr Boyne wrestled on the floor with another badminton player at a fundraiser in the Baldoyle Centre his hand came into contact with Jean Denihan, causing her to fall backwards in a whiplash-type fashion as she tried to separate them.
The judge said Mr Boyne then went on Facebook to paint 57-year-old Ms Denihan as “the evil one of Baldoyle” and a woman maliciously minded towards him who could only be removed with the help of rosary beads and purifying holy water, a woman he would rid Baldoyle of by burning her at the 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, for Ms Denihan, that Mr Boyne’s remarks on Facebook specifically related to his client. He had not just used strong language but a very serious description of Ms Denihan as evil to the point of being a witch deserving of treatment meted out in medieval times.
In cross-examination, Mr Boyne said he stood by what he had said about Ms 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 because of his status as a Division 1 player. He blamed Ms Denihan when, in fact, it had been an executive committee that had banned him.
At a fundraiser in Baldoyle Badminton Centre on April 5, 2013, Mr Boyne had become involved in an incident with another player Barry Dickson who the court was told was drunk. As they wrestled on the floor, Ms Denihan bent over to try to separate them.
She had told the court Mr 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 Ms Denihan had suffered trauma and stress with loss of confidence. The court’s main difficulty was Mr 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 Ms Denihan.
The judge refused a stay on the court’s orders pending an appeal.
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