Woman loses claim against Xtra-vision


A 37-YEAR-OLD mother of three, who was wrongly accused of stealing from a video shop, has failed in her €38,000 damages claim against Xtra-vision.

A judge in the Circuit Civil Court decided that although Áine Colgan-Currie had been exonerated of any suspicion of theft, she was not entitled to succeed in a claim for defamation of character.

Judge Anthony Hunt said he was bound to apply the law of “qualified privilege” established in an earlier High Court case. On that basis, the Xtra-vision employee, who accused her of having stolen merchandise, had been entitled to approach her and question her about it.

Ms Colgan-Currie, of Cherry Park, Swords, Co Dublin, said she visited Xtra-vision in Swords in July 2007 with her three children. She told her counsel, John Fox, that she had been an Xtra-vision customer for 15 years and left the shop without making a purchase.

An employee followed her outside and accused her of having stolen items from the shop. She and her children returned to the shop where a replay of its CCTV revealed the employee had been mistaken. She told Mr Fox she and her husband were well-known in the area and the incident caused her embarrassment.

The judge agreed with Jennifer O’Connell, counsel for Xtra-vision, that Ms Colgan-Currie was not entitled to damages. He made no order as to costs.

Ms O’Connell told the court the shop manager apologised to Ms Colgan-Currie and while the company acknowledged it made a mistake, the incident occurred on an occasion of qualified privilege.