Man accused of paying for pint with fake €10 note awarded €5,000

Judge upholds ruling Leonard Nolan was defamed by barman in Grace’s of Rathmines

A Co Dublin man who claimed he was defamed when he was told by a barman that a €10 note he used to pay for a pint of lager was fake, has been awarded €5,000 by the High Court.

A Co Dublin man who claimed he was defamed when he was told by a barman that a €10 note he used to pay for a pint of lager was fake, has been awarded €5,000 by the High Court.

 

An award of €5,000 to a Co Dublin man who claimed he was defamed when he was told by a barman that a €10 note he used to pay for a pint of lager was fake, has been upheld by the High Court.

Leonard Nolan (53), of Pearse Gardens, Sallynoggin, sued Laurence Lounge Ltd, trading as Grace’s Pub of Rathmines, Dublin, for defamation over the April 24th, 2013 incident.

He was awarded €5,000 plus costs in the Circuit Court in 2016 but the pub appealed to the High Court where, Mr Justice Michael McGrath on Friday upheld the award.

Desmond Bond, the barman, told the court he dealt with the matter as discreetly as possible. He said he knew the €10 note was not genuine because it did not have a silver strip running down the middle of it.

The pub also pleaded that this was an occasion of qualified privilege whereby a statement to someone with an interest in receiving such information is protected as long as it is not motivated by malice.

Mr Justice McGrath said while he could not be certain as to what happened on the night, he regarded the evidence of Mr Nolan as “being more probable and likely”. He also regarded the the publication of the defamatory statement, while there were in customers in the bar, as being excessive.

Held aloft

Mr Nolan, a fast food delivery man, told the court he went into the pub on his way home at around 8.30pm, ordered a pint and put a €10 note on the counter.

“Rather than fulfil my order, the barman decided to pick up the note and holding it aloft said you can clearly see that is a fake,” he said, adding that he told the barman he got the note from the the post office which was “a reliable source and that note is good”.

Mr Nolan said there were around 10 others in the pub, with two men sitting very close at the counter. He said the barman was speaking in a loud voice.

He said he went across the road from the pub to Rathmines Garda station, where a garda took the note and later confirmed “that note is perfect, you can spend it anywhere you like”.

He returned to Grace’s and told the barman what the garda had said. He asked the barman to sign the note but he refused and told him to leave. He went to his solicitor the next day.

Mr Bond, who has worked in Grace’s for 13 years, told the court he said to Mr Nolan it was a “fake note, where did you get that”. He said Mr Nolan said he got it in “a bookies or a shop” and he told him to take it back there.

He disputed that the note produced in court was the one Mr Nolan presented on the night. He disagreed, under cross examination, that for whatever reason he took an instant dislike to Mr Nolan and decided he was going to accuse him of tendering a fake note.