Two teenagers, who were wrongly accused of theft at McGuirk’s Blanchardstown Golf Store, have each been awarded €10,000 damages for defamation of character.
Padraig D. Lyons, counsel for George and Emily Heather, of Green Park Lane, Dunshaughlin, Co Meath, told the Circuit Civil Court Tuesday that a member of the store’s staff had searched their shopping bags after telling them they had been “up to no good.”
Mr Lyons, who appeared with solicitor William J. Brennan, said George (13), who is a very keen golfer, and his 14-year-old sister, Emily, had been browsing in the shop on August 8th last year while waiting for their mum, Susie Heather, to collect them.
He said the children had made an arrangement with their mother that she would pick them up at the golf store at five o’clock on the day.
He told Circuit Court President, Mr Justice Raymond Groarke, that the two children were in the upper level of the store when approached by a member of staff who said: “You are up to no good. I saw you put leggings in the bag.”
Mr Lyons said the staff member had then searched the bags of both children which contained items that had been bought in other shops at the Blanchardstown Shopping Centre.
“Not only were no items belonging to McGuirks Golf found in the bag, but the staff member took it upon himself to escort them to the door and put them out of the store,” Mr Lyons said.
He said the children, through their mother, had sued Livy Issue Limited, trading as McGuirks Golf, for defamation and each had been offered settlement figures of €10,000 which he was recommending to the court.
Mr Lyons said the words spoken by the staff member had suggested the children were guilty of theft and the incident, and their being accompanied to the front door, had taken place in full view of all of the customers present in the shop.
He told Judge Groarke both children had been upset and embarrassed by what had happened and there had been no apology of any sort made to them by representatives of the store.
Judge Groarke said proposed settlements of €10,000 each were good offers which he approved.
The children were also awarded Circuit Court costs in each case.
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