A Mario Rosenstock fan has been awarded €4,500 compensation in a defamation action arising out of being asked by security for his ticket halfway through a gig at the Marquee in Cork.
Anthony Kenneally, of 27 Meadow Avenue, The Meadows, Hollyhill, Cork, was at the gig on July 12 2014. Yesterday, Judge James O’Donohoe assessed damages at €7,500.
The judge reduced the award by 40% because he said Mr Kenneally inflamed the situation by his actions on the night.
“The plaintiff maintained at all times that he purchased his ticket in the normal fashion and that during the interval was approached by one of the security people to show his ticket. It was a validated ticket. He had gone through half of the show at this state. He sued for defamation at Cork Circuit Court,” said the judge.
Judge O’Donohoe said some of the security staff had misgivings about whether Mr Kenneally had a ticket. He did have a ticket and was entitled to recover some damages for defamation.
The judge said there were divergent accounts of what happened after Mr Kenneally was approached by security officer.
The defendants said Mr Kenneally became abusive and gardaí had to be called.
“The court can understand why he was aggrieved when he was asked to show his ticket. I award €7,500 general damages for defamation, reduced by 40% for his own behaviour in inflaming the situation,” said Judge O’Donohoe.
Mr Kenneally claimed a security officer from the defendant company, AOS Security Management, approached him at an interval in the performance and asked him to come to the ‘welcome’ area at the Marquee, where he asked Mr Kenneally if he had a ticket.
He said he had a ticket and produced it. The security man scanned the ticket and found that it was a valid ticket.
The plaintiff said the security officer said to him, “You must have found that ticket” or words to that effect.
The defence denied that such a comment was made and alleged that the plaintiff began to get a bit loud and demanded the gardaí be brought into it.
Garda Donal Daly said that shortly after that it became less about the validity of the ticket and more about Mr Kenneally’s behaviour under the Public Order Act.
Garda Daly described the scene as a furore and said the plaintiff was getting more and more agitated, almost taking up a fighting stance with a security man, saying, “These fuckers are saying I have no ticket.”
Mr Kenneally’s barrister, Daniel Cronin, said: “There is manifest inconsistency. Anyone might get exercised if they were taken out halfway through an event and taken out to an area near the security area for no reasonable reason.”
Kieran Hughes, defending, said Mr Kenneally was not removed by the security officer.
Judge O’Donohoe said that one thing was certain: The plaintiff was in possession of a valid ticket which was scanned at 8.01pm that evening.
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