Student awarded damages over store’s defamation

A student and mother of one, who allegedly called a security guard a “fucking asshole”, has been awarded damages for defamation in the Circuit Civil Court against his employer.

Jodie Hayes, aged 22, told the court that, in May 2013, she had been with friends at River Island store in the Ilac Shopping Centre, Dublin, when she was asked to leave the shop by security guard Wayne Mitchell.

She said that when she asked him why, Mr Mitchell had told her “you know why” and directed her out of the store. She was embarrassed in front of friends and other customers, she said.

Ms Hayes, of Rory O’Connor House, Hardwicke St Flats, Dublin, denied calling Mr Mitchell the names which were later described in detail to Judge John Hannan. She sued security company Vision Security Group Ltd, of Suite 6, Plaza, 256 Blanchardstown Corporate Park, Ballycoolin. The company denied having accused Ms Hayes of shoplifting.

Mr Mitchell saidthe store management had taken the decision to bar Ms Hayes after she had been abusive two weeks before the incident, when she was asked to leave after one of her friends allegedly removed a security tag from an item.

The court heard there was no suspicion Ms Hayes had done anything suspicious. Ms Hayes said Mr Mitchell had told her she could come back to the store when she had calmed down. She told Judge Hannan she did not know she had been barred.

Judge Hannan, awarding Ms Hayes €7,500 damages along with her legal costs, said she had not suffered any significant injury out of this incident and her shopping habits in the store had not been affected.


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