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A WOMAN who claimed a pharmacy allowed her husband to watch CCTV footage of her buying a pregnancy test kit has settled a €38,000 damages claim for an undisclosed sum in the Circuit Civil Court.

A WOMAN who claimed a pharmacy allowed her husband to watch CCTV footage of her buying a pregnancy test kit has settled a €38,000 damages claim for an undisclosed sum in the Circuit Civil Court.

The Co Wicklow woman, who cannot be named, said her marriage had been highly dysfunctional for a number of years before the October 2010 incident which had worsened her relationship with her now late husband.

She told her barrister, Martina O'Neill, that she had bought the pregnancy test for a friend but her husband had found the receipt in their home and had gone to the pharmacy with it.

The court heard the husband was very possessive and was abusive and violent towards his wife.

When he arrived at the pharmacy he pretended to be very distressed and "tricked" one of the employees into showing him CCTV footage.

He had told the employee that he had found the receipt in his teenage daughter's bedroom and was seriously concerned that she was sexually active. This had been why he had asked to be shown CCTV footage.

Shane English, counsel for the pharmacy, said that the assistant was very concerned for the well-being of the man's daughter and, due to his agitated state, had shown him CCTV of a woman purchasing the test.

FOOTAGE

Circuit Court President Mr Justice Raymond Groarke was told that the father, who had identified the woman as being his daughter's aunt, had secretly taken pictures of the CCTV footage with his mobile phone.

The court heard the woman in the video was, in fact, the girl's mother and plaintiff in the court proceedings.

The mother told the court she and her husband were not having an intimate relationship at the time and this had led to a row with her husband as he thought she had bought the test for herself.

She said he had sent her, on her own mobile phone, a picture of her buying the pregnancy test. She had been scared about going home as she knew he would use it as an excuse for a row.

The woman told Judge Groarke that her husband and she had separated on and off. He had been physically and mentally abusive towards her.

The gardai had needed to intervene several times.

The court heard the incident had not made their "traumatic marriage" any better as the husband had used it as "a stick to beat her with".

"Every day after that he would talk about it any chance he could get. He became abusive on a daily basis," she told the court.

The woman said it was like him saying "I caught you". She had suffered acute stress and depression and had needed to obtain counselling and medication.

The woman said she had complained to the then Data Protection Commissioner, Billy Hawkes, who had found there had been a breach of the Data Protection laws.

She had afterwards issued the court proceedings in which she sued the pharmacy under the Data Protection Act for negligence and breach of duty.

Mr English told Judge Groarke that if the father had taken photos of a computer screen, he had done so without the pharmacy's consent and the pharmacy fully contested the mother's claim.

Following an adjournment to allow talks between the parties, Ms O'Neill said the matter had been resolved.

hnews@herald.ie


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