‘Reckless’ accusation of nappy theft leads to €5,000 award

Judge awards damages after accepting man had been intimidated by store owner

Judge says store owner should have checked his CCTV footage before accusing man  of stealing Pampers nappies.

Judge says store owner should have checked his CCTV footage before accusing man of stealing Pampers nappies.

 

A 55-year-old Dublin man, who was “recklessly” accused of stealing two boxes of baby nappies, has won damages in the Circuit Civil Court for defamation of character.

Judge Jacqueline Linnane said today that store owner Charlie Tracey should have checked his CCTV footage before accusing Francis Dunne of stealing Pampers nappies in June 2012.

The court heard that Dunne had walked past C&T Stores, at Philipsburgh Avenue, Dublin. Tracey had then driven up alongside him in his car and stopped. He had got out and told Dunne that a member of staff thought he had taken the nappies from a display outside C&T Stores without paying.

Dunne told the court that as he passed Tracey’s shop he was carrying boxes of Pampers nappies that he had bought in another store

He told his barrister Dermot Francis Sheehan that Tracey had “interrogated” him about the nappies and had checked the boxes he had been carrying.

Mr Dunne, of Spring Garden Street, Ballybough, Dublin, said he had been intimidated by Tracey’s “arrogant” behaviour and he had shown him a receipt to explain he had purchased the nappies elsewhere.

Dunne told Mr Sheehan that later that day he and his sister Donna Dunne had gone to the C&T store and had asked for an apology from Mr Tracey who, they told the court, had “dismissed them”.

Tracey claimed he had seen Dunne outside his shop under the store canopy where nappies had been shelved. He had asked Dunne where he had got the items after checking with his staff that no one had bought nappies.

He said that when Dunne had told him he had bought them in another store he had apologised for the misunderstanding. He regretted what happened but denied he had been reckless and arrogant or had blocked Mr Dunne’s path.

Judge Linnane, awarding Dunne €5,000, said she accepted he had been intimidated. It had been open to Mr Tracey, who had been reckless in his handling of the situation, to check the CCTV before approaching Mr Dunne.