Woman assaulted by badminton star who said she was 'evil' wins €30k
An international badminton player who described a woman as "evil" and said he'd burn her at the stake has been ordered to pay her €30,000.
The circuit court heard that during a fundraiser in Baldoyle Badminton Centre Nigel Boyne had become involved in an incident with another player - Barry Dickson - who was drunk.
As they wrestled on the floor, Jean Denihan, the manager of the centre, tried to separate them.
Ms Denihan told the court Boyne grabbed her by the throat and it was only the efforts of other people that stopped his fist from hitting her in the face.
Circuit Court President Mr Justice Raymond Groarke said Boyne then went on Facebook to paint Ms Denihan (57) as "the evil one of Baldoyle" and a woman maliciously-minded towards him.
Boyne said she could only be removed with the help of Rosary beads and purifying Holy Water. He added he would rid Baldoyle of her by burning her at the stake.
The judge ordered Boyne to pay Ms Denihan €30,000 damages for assaulting and defaming her.
"This is a most regrettable case because it involves two people who share a great love for a particular sport, but it happens - people fall out with one another," he said.
Boyne donned a Star Wars mask under a hooded jacket as he ran from the Four Courts following the decision.
During the trial Judge Groarke accepted that as Boyne wrestled on the floor with the other man his hand hit Ms Denihan as she tried to separate them, causing her to fall backwards in a whiplash-type fashion.
Judge Groarke told barrister Barney Quirke, who appeared with solicitors Bowler Geraghty for Ms Denihan, that Boyne's remarks on Facebook specifically related to his client.
He had not just used strong language or colourful terminology, but a very serious description of Ms Denihan as evil to the point of being a witch deserving of treatment inflicted on witches in medieval times.
In cross-examination by Mr Quirke yesterday, Boyne - of Elm Mount Lawn, Beaumont, Dublin - said he stood by what he had said about Ms Denihan and what Judge Groarke said he had published to the wider badminton community on the internet.
Judge Groarke said the matter went back to a tournament which Boyne had not been allowed to take part in because he was a Division 1 player. He blamed Ms Denihan when, in fact, it had been an executive committee that had prevented him from playing.
Judge Groarke said Ms Denihan had suffered trauma and stress with loss of confidence after the incident during the fundraiser on April 5, 2013.
The court's main difficulty was Mr Boyne's persistence in "standing over" the allegations he had posted on Facebook and repeated in court about Ms Denihan.
Judge Groarke said Ms Denihan was entitled to recover damages of €30,000 for defamation and assault against Mr Boyne together with legal costs. He refused a stay on the court's orders pending an appeal.