A shop manager had acted recklessly when she asked a customer who had approached her at the till if she had just put something in her bag, a judge said today.
Gemma Quinn told Judge Jacqueline Linnane she had taken a baby's feeding bottle from a shelf in her local pharmacy and had asked manager Ciara O'Malley if it would be an appropriate one for her baby.
"I was aggressively asked did I take anything and was there something in my bag," Ms Quinn, of Ferncourt Green, Firhouse, Dublin, said in the Circuit Civil Court when she sued the pharmacy for damages for defamation.
She told her counsel, Bonnie Hickey, that she then asked Ms O'Malley: "Do you think I'm like that. Do I look like that type of person. Look in my bag."
Ms O'Malley had looked in her bag and, not having found anything, said: "I'm sorry about that. How can I help you?"
Ms Quinn was so shocked that she had left the bottle down and walked out of the pharmacy to which she had been unable to return, even to claim medication from her repeat prescription which she had earlier left with the store.
Ms Hickey told Judge Linnane that Ms Quinn had been to O'Regan's Pharmacy, Old Bawn Shopping Centre, Tallaght, on August 28 last year when the incident occurred. She had been embarrassed and intimidated and had been unable to return to the shopping centre.
Ms O'Malley told the court she was manager of O'Regan's, and when she saw Ms Quinn at the baby centre she thought she saw her put something in her bag.
She said: "When she approached me at the till with the bottle I said, 'Did you put something in your bag?'
"She replied, 'Oh My God, do I look like somebody who would do that?'."
Ms O'Malley looked into the and saw nothing. She had apologised and asked could she help her with anything.
Awarding Ms Quinn €10,500 damages and costs, Judge Linnane said the incident might have been avoided if a staff member had gone up to try to assist Ms Quinn.
The court did not accept there were grounds for confronting Ms Quinn and Ms O'Malley had acted recklessly.
Ms Quinn had sued Illingvale Limited, which owns O'Regan's Pharmacy.