Expectant mum Lisa Ralph wanted “the Rolls Royce of buggies” for her first baby and went for the ultimate status symbol in baby carriers, a court heard yesterday.
But as Lisa and her sisters Karen and Fiona Ralph inspected the Bugaboo and the various accoutrements that accompany the €1,300 push chair in Mamas & Papas (Retail) Ltd at Blanchardstown Shopping Centre, a commotion broke out.
All three sisters told the Circuit Civil Court yesterday that a man who was not an employee of the store and who was carrying a baby in his arms, had shouted at them like he was crazy and told them to “put the pram down and get out”.
He had turned out to be Claude Cojanu, the husband of the assistant manager of the store, Cristina Cojanu, who he had been waiting to see.
Mr Cojanu said he saw the group looking at the buggy and one of the sisters said “What are you looking at you freak?” Another had said that if it was not for the baby in his arms she would punch him and he claimed he was also told: “You are fucking crazy.”
All three sisters denied his allegations. They said they were embarrassed and mortified when told in front of other customers to leave the shop. It suggested they had done something wrong.
Mr Cojanu told Judge Jacqueline Linnane that he said to the sisters, who live at Cannonbrook Court, Lucan, Co Dublin: “Please leave the shop.” He had then walked outside but his wife, Cristina, immediately called on his mobile and asked him to come back in and apologise to them which he did.
Ms Cojanu said she was doing the cash in the store when she was called out to the shop. There had been a commotion and she kept apologising to the three women. She offered Lisa a €500 voucher against the price of a Bugaboo which had not been accepted.
Judge Linnane told barrister Garrett Cooney: “It is admitted the plaintiffs were asked to leave which would imply wrongdoing and they were very upset.”
She told barrister Shane English, counsel for Mamas and Papas, of Coln Bridge Road, Huddersfield, England, that given the immediate apology and offer of a voucher she would award the sisters €2,500 damages each for defamation with their legal costs.
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