Defamation case over rocking horse denied

A woman and her mother claimed they were defamed at a shop when they bought a rocking horse for a child.

Patricia Condron, of 5, Dunmanus Park, Knocknaheeny, Cork, testified at Cork Circuit Court that she went to House and Home in Blackpool shopping centre in Cork on September 20, 2013, to buy a Rocking Bee — a type of small rocking horse designed for use by an infant She said she paid €20 for it. Her mother was parked outside the shop.

Bridget Condron said she then came into the shop and got the Rocking Bee from her daughter, who was going to buy something else. She said the woman in the shop came from behind Bridget Condron and said: “You took the Bee from the shop.”

“She kept it up,” said Ms Condron. “Says she: ‘You took the Bee from the shop.’ My daughter said she was after paying for. She kept saying: ‘No you didn’t.’ It went on for a good few minutes.”

Katerina Burnett told Eamon Shanahan, defending, that she served the young woman and later saw the older woman with a Rocking Bee leaving the shop. She said she did not know there was a connection between the two women and asked the older woman: “Excuse me, did you pay for it?”

She said Bridget Condron said pretty loudly that she was being accused of stealing, and that her daughter paid for the item. She said it was only then that she realised they were related.

Judge Reardon said that, in a defamation case, the precise words allegedly spoken were of great importance. In this case, he said it was originally claimed that Ms Burnett said to the Condrons: “You never paid for that.”

Bridget Condron said in her evidence that Ms Burnett said to her: “You took the Bee from the shop, you took the Bee.”

Judge Reardon said: “Those words do not match the words ‘you never paid for that’.

He dismissed the claims.

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