Man accused of failing to pay for pastry gets €20k
A Dublin man who was falsely accused of not paying for a jambon pastry has been awarded €20,000 damages.
Anthony Maher claimed that, on August 7, 2014, he bought and paid for a number of items at Centra Corduff, Blackhorse Avenue, Blanchardstown.
He was then followed outside the store by two staff members.
Mr Maher, of McWilliam Parade, Fortunestown, Tallaght, said one of them, Marian Fletcher, told him he had not paid for the jambon he had bought from the deli counter.
He told his barrister, Maeve Cox, at the Circuit Civil Court that he tried to explain he had paid for all of the items but Ms Fletcher had asked him to go back into the store, where he pointed out the cashier who had served him.
Mr Maher said, as the cashier had not remembered him, he had asked for the till and security cameras to be checked, arguing he was not a thief.
There had been customers inside and outside the store throughout the incident.
Ms Cox said Mr Maher had felt obliged to remain in the shop until the matter was resolved, despite having done nothing wrong. He said he was eventually informed that it was OK and not to worry about it.
Maher - who sued Damast Limited, which trades as Centra Corduff, for defamation - claimed Ms Fletcher told him there was fault on both sides as the deli assistant should have given him a receipt.
He alleged the words spoken meant he was guilty of criminal or dishonest conduct, was a thief, a liar and a person of disreputable and low moral character. The store denied his allegations in a full defence.
It denied he had been followed and alleged that Ms Fletcher had just questioned him about the deli item at the till while she was serving him.
Judge Francis Comerford said shops were entitled to enquire about their goods as long as it was done in a reasonable manner.
He said in this case the defendant denied the incident described by Mr Maher had happened at all and now accuses him of making a fraudulent and malicious claim.
The judge said the store ignored six letters sent by Mr Maher's legal team and only replied after he had issued legal proceedings.