A plaintiff placed a bet in a Sean Graham’s betting shop and won €130 in the last week of January 2019. She collected her money, put it in her bag and left the premises. Then some weeks later , after she picked up her child from school, she was approached by an employee of Sean Graham’s, who said to her “excuse me, you owe a colleague of mine money because she paid you too much”. The plaintiff told the judge that the words had been spoken aggressively and she had been shocked, upset, and embarrassed. She stated she did not know what the person was talking about, and a number of people overheard the conversation. She said that she was told to go back to the shop and sort it out.
The court was told by the defendant betting shop that they learned, after the pay-out, that they had mistakenly given the plaintiff €50 too much.
The defendant denied the staff member had published the allegations claimed by the plaintiff or that the plaintiff was led to believe that she was a criminal and had stolen the money.
The court accepted the position of the defendant and ruled that feeling hurt or embarrassed at words that were spoken did not of itself constitute defamation of character.
The case was taken in the Circuit Court where the maximum jurisdiction is €75,000 but in this case where the plaintiff lost, she would likely be facing legal costs of the proceedings to include those of the defendant.