A judge has been asked by a former sex worker for orders preventing another ex-sex worker from publishing alleged defamatory statements that she never “worked” certain Dublin streets.
Judge John O’Connor heard in the Circuit Civil Court today that Rachel Moran of School Lane, Baldoyle, Dublin 13, wanted to restrain former fellow sex worker Gaye Dalton, Bow Street, Dublin 7, from posting further alleged defamatory statements about her on social media.
Barrister Andrew Walker, counsel for Moran, said Ms Moran had been left in a state of distress after online allegations by Ms Dalton that she was “a fraud and a liar” by claiming she had been a sex worker, particularly on Dublin’s Waterloo Road and Burlington Road.
Mr Walker, who appeared with solicitor Dermot McClean of Lavelle Partners, told the court Ms Moran had written a memoir in 2013 titled ‘Paid For: My Journey Through Prostitution,’ which related details of her time working as a teenage sex worker on Waterloo Road and Burlington Road, Dublin 4, between 1991 and 1993.
Moran appeared on RTE’s Late Late Show with Ryan Tubridy last year during which she outlined her written record of her prostitution and how she had got off the streets. Her story was also highlighted widely throughout the print media and on radio and she published a number of articles recounting her time as a sex worker.
Mr Walker, in his summary of Ms Moran’s application for injunctions against Dalton, said that around this time Ms Dalton had begun publishing defamatory blog posts online and a number of tweets in which she had unlawfully accused Ms Moran of scamming money along with harming sex workers for profit.
The court heard that in one tweet Ms Dalton had stated about Ms Moran: “She is a liar, a bitch and a bully and she was never even a sex worker.”
Another had stated: “She makes a good living out of free travel and loads of attention out of bullying and persecuting sex workers and that is all she is capable of caring about. The fact that innocent women are seeing their lives destroyed by her isn’t even on her radar.”
Dalton had also accused SPACE International, an organisation founded by Ms Moran in 2012, of being run by frauds who had been selling out the lives of sex workers. She had allegedly tweeted about SPACE: “Yes, a pack of greedy, spiteful little frauds who sold sex workers lives out along with their souls."
Mr Walker said Ms Dalton had caused his client a great deal of upset and she was the only one querying Ms Moran’s story adding that Ms Dalton had displayed antagonism and maybe jealousy towards Ms Moran.
Ms Dalton, who represented herself in court, told Judge O’Connor she had found it impossible to believe that Ms Moran had ever worked on Waterloo Road or Burlington Road on the dates she had specified. She herself had been working there during those years and she had never encountered Ms Moran or anyone that could have been Ms Moran.
Dalton said that she had been “stationed” 15 yards away from where Ms Moran said she had been located. She said if Ms Moran had been there she would have seen her. She said all the sex workers in the area had been known to each other.
She said anyone under age had been sent home by the other workers. Ms Dalton said many of the other sex workers had teenage children and would have recognised anyone of that age.
Ms Dalton told Judge O’Connor she accepted that her allegation that Ms Moran had never worked in the sex industry had been wrong but she had not been able to admit that Ms Moran had, as she claimed, worked Waterloo Road and Burlington Road.
Mr Walker told Judge O’Connor that Ms Moran was seeking an injunction restraining Ms Dalton from making or repeating her allegations on social media or otherwise. He said Ms Moran was not seeking damages against Ms Moran. She had been forced into taking the application in order to silence Ms Dalton.
Judge O’Connor reserved his judgment until next week at which time he would consider any further submissions either party wished to make to him.