Saturday 22 October 2016

Student is told to pay costs on 'meritless' €75k pharmacy claim

Student William Hanks (Courtpix)
Student William Hanks (Courtpix)

A judge has told a Co Dublin student there was no merit in his €75,000 claim alleging he was defamed by a pharmacy and ordered him to pay the legal costs of his unsuccessful action.

William Hanks claimed that Wembar Company Limited, which trades as McCabes Pharmacy, had published a text "using him as a scapegoat" for the mis-labelling of a medication for his mother.

Ms Hanks, of Estuary Row Bissett's Strand, Malahide, told the court she was a non-practising barrister and wished to assist her son in presenting his case.

In evidence she said that on November 13, 2013, she had presented a prescription and her medical card for pills in McCabe's Pharmacy and when she got home found they had been labelled for a non-existent "William Patrick Wilson Hanks".

She had received a text from the pharmacy alleging her son had given his own name when collecting the tablets.

She had only shown her son the text about two weeks after receiving it and that it was she who had sent it to the PSI.

William Hanks said his signature was not on the signed prescription which had to be signed by the medical card holder.

Judge Jacqueline Linnane in the Circuit Civil Court said she accepted the contention of barrister Shane English that William Hanks had failed to produce any evidence that he had been defamed.

Mr English, who appeared with Newman Solicitors for McCabes Pharmacy, Malahide Shopping Centre, told the judge it was Hanks' own mother who had sent an allegedly defamatory text to the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland (PSI).


Judge Linnane said she was striking out the defamation claim for the reasons argued by Mr English, that no prime facie case had been made out, that there was no evidence of defamation, that the text was not defamatory and did not have a meaning claimed by Mr Hanks and that his own mother had sent it to the PSI.

The judge awarded costs against Mr Hanks - also of Estuary Row - but granted him a stay on the costs order pending his consideration of an appeal to the High Court.

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