Mum gets €10,000 for false shoplifting claim over potatoes
A woman has claimed in court that an allegation by Dunnes Stores that she had failed to pay for a bag of potatoes had been a blight on her character.
Frank Crean, counsel for mother-of-three Lisa Moore (38), told the Circuit Civil Court that not only had the allegation been made publicly by a security guard on March 20 last year, it had been mentioned to her two months later by a guest at a child's confirmation.
Mr Crean, who was awarded €10,000 in damages, told Judge Terence O'Sullivan that Ms Moore had been distressed by the incident and felt her character had been defamed.
Ms Moore, of Moyclare Drive, Baldoyle, Dublin, said in evidence that she and two of her children had gone to Dunnes Stores on Weddell Avenue, Portmarnock, in March last year.
After she had bought her groceries they had returned to her car, where she had loaded them inside.
She said she had been approached by a security guard who said to her: "Could you go back in and pay for the potatoes you took without paying for? The potatoes were in the front of your trolley."
Ms Moore told the man she had not bought any potatoes in the store and could show him the receipt for her payment.
He had made the statement in a clear voice in the presence and view of a number of members of the public.
After she returned to the store, it was accepted that she had not included potatoes in her shopping.
She had been distressed and crying, and was told by a manager he would ring her later.
Security guard Mark Green said he had been told by a supervisor at a self-checkout till that she had seen Ms Moore with potatoes in her trolley and that she had not presented them for scanning.
He had asked her if she was sure and when she confirmed this, he had walked out to Ms Moore in the car park.
He told Ms Moore the check-out girl had not scanned the potatoes, and when Ms Moore said she had not shopped for any potatoes, he said, "I must have the wrong customer", apologised and walked away.
Judge O'Sullivan said he accepted Ms Moore's version of events and awarded her the €10,000 damages and costs against the store.