International badminton player must pay €30,000 damages over assault
International badminton player Nigel Boyne has been ordered to pay the manager of a badminton centre €30,000 damages for assaulting and defaming her.
Boyne, of Elm Mount Lawn, Beaumont, Dublin, donned a 'Star Wars' Stormtrooper mask as he ran from the Four Courts complex following the decision of Circuit Court President Mr Justice Raymond Groarke.
Mr Justice Groarke accepted that as Boyne wrestled on the floor with another badminton player at a fundraiser in the Baldoyle Badminton Centre, his hand came into contact with Jean Denihan, manager of the centre, causing her to fall backwards in a whiplash-type fashion as she tried to separate them.
The judge said Boyne then went on Facebook to paint Ms Denihan (57) as "the evil one of Baldoyle" and a woman maliciously minded towards him who could be removed only with the help of rosary beads and purifying holy water, a woman he would rid Baldoyle of by burning her at the stake.
"This is a most regrettable case because it involves two people who share a great love for a particular sport, but it happens, people fall out with one another," he said.
Mr Justice Groarke told barrister Barney Quirke, who appeared for Ms Denihan, that Boyne's remarks on Facebook specifically related to his client. He had not just used strong language but a very serious description of Ms Denihan as evil to the point of being a witch deserving of treatment meted out to witches in medieval times.
In cross-examination by Mr Quirke yesterday, Boyne said he stood by what he had said about Ms Denihan and what Mr Justice Groarke said he had published to the wider badminton community on the internet.
Mr Justice Groarke said the matter went back to a tournament in which Boyne was not allowed to take part because of his status as a Division 1 player. He blamed Ms Denihan when, in fact, it had been an executive committee that had banned him from playing.
At a fundraiser in Baldoyle Badminton Centre on April 5, 2013, Boyne became involved in an incident with another player Barry Dickson, the judge said. As they wrestled on the floor Ms Denihan bent over to try to separate them.
She told the court Boyne grabbed her by the throat and it was only the efforts of other people that stopped his fist from connecting with her face.
Mr Justice Groarke said Ms Denihan had suffered trauma and stress and was entitled to damages of €30,000 for defamation and assault. The court's main difficulty was Boyne's persistence in "standing over" the allegations he had posted on Facebook and repeated in court as to what he thought and said about Ms Denihan.