Monday, November 07, 2022

Ray Managh

Shopkeepers would be unable to do any business if they could not take a customer to the one side and discuss with them their suspicions of non-payment for goods, a judge stated on Monday.

Judge Terence O’Sullivan made the remark when dismissing a claim for defamation of character which carries potential damages of up to €75,000.

The case had been brought by mother of four Chloe Goss, a carer, of Hillview Grove, Ballinteer, Dublin 16, who alleged she had been wrongly accused by staff in a Mace shop of having taken two cans of Coke without paying for them.

She claimed the manager of Mace at the Ballaly Luas Stop, Dundrum, had asked her: “Are you going to pay for the two cans of coke you robbed.”

Goss, 40, claimed the words had been spoken when she visited the store in February 2019 to collect two coats she had left in to be cleaned.

Not welcome

Barrister Alistair Rutherdale, who appeared with David R Fowler Solicitors for SDS Stores Limited, Rockfield Central, Ballaly, Dundrum, Dublin, told the court Goss had been told she had been barred from the store following an alleged incident several months previously.

Shop manager Sophie McDonagh told the court that on an earlier date she had seen Goss take two cans of coke from the store without paying for them. On the day she had collected the coats she had told Goss she was not welcome in the shop but denied shouting at her.

Ms McDonagh said she had taken Ms Goss to the one side to speak to her and there were very few customers in the shop and none close enough to have overheard what she had said.

Judge O’Sullivan said he accepted there had been an incident in the shop, but he preferred Ms McDonagh’s evidence to that of Ms Goss.

Dismissing the case he said: “It would render shopkeepers incapable of doing any business if they could not take a customer to one side and talk with them.” The judge did not make an order for costs against Ms Goss.

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