A 38-year-old supervisor claimed in court that an allegation by Dunnes Stores that she had failed to pay for a bag of potatoes had left a blight on her character.
Frank Crean, counsel for Lisa Moore, told the Circuit Civil Court that not only had the allegation been made publicly by a security man on March 20, 2017, it had been mentioned to her two months later by a guest at a child’s Confirmation.
Mr Crean told Judge Terence O’Sullivan she had been greatly distressed by the incident and felt her character had been defamed.
Ms Moore, of Moyclare Drive, Baldoyle, Dublin, said she and her two children had gone to Dunnes Stores, Weddell Avenue, Portmarnock, in March 2017 to do a full shop.
After she had purchased her groceries, they returned to her car where she had loaded them into the boot and front passenger footwell of the vehicle.
She said she had been approached by a security man who had said to her: “Could you go back in and pay for the potatoes you took without paying for… the potatoes were in the front of your trolley.”
Ms Moore had told the man she had not bought any potatoes in the store and could show him the receipt for her payment.
He made the statement in a clear voice in the presence and view of a number of people.
After she had returned to the store, it had been accepted she had not included potatoes in her shopping.
She had been distressed and crying and was almost unable to talk to anyone in the store about the incident.
Security man Mark Green said he had been told by a supervisor at a self-check-out till that she had seen Ms Moore with potatoes in her shopping trolley and that she had not presented them for scanning at the till where she had paid her bill.
He had asked her if she was sure and when she confirmed this he had walked out to Ms Moore in the car park.
When Ms Moore said told him she had not shopped for any potatoes, he said “I must have the wrong customer”, apologised, and walked away.
Mr Green said she asked him if he wanted to check the car and he had said no.
“I just wanted to back away. I wanted to get out of there,” Mr Green said.
Judge O’Sullivan said the shop assistant who had spoken to Mr Green had not given evidence in the case and he accepted Ms Moore’s version of events and awarded her €10,000 damages and Circuit Court costs against the store.
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