Neighbour must pay €9,000 for 'con artist' jibe
A MAN was yesterday ordered to pay €9,000 in damages after "wounding remarks" about a neighbour which a judge ruled were deliberately intended to damage his reputation.
Judge Joseph Mathews said David O'Shaughnessy had told a customer of next-door garage proprietor James Collen that Mr Collen was "a f**king con artist".
He said the words had been spoken with a degree of deliberation, even if in hot temper, and he ordered Mr O'Shaughnessy to pay Mr Collen €9,000 damages for defamation of character.
He also directed him to meet a costs bill approaching €20,000.
Barrister Graham Quinn told the Circuit Civil Court that Mr Collen ran a car repair garage from the rear of his home at 11 Newtown Park, Tallaght, Co Dublin.
In May 2008, customer Ken Hyland had parked his car on the main street near Mr O'Shaughnessy's home at No 12, which was directly across from the garage.
Mr O'Shaughnessy had asked him to move it and the defamatory words were spoken when a dispute arose between Mr O'Shaughnessy and Mr Collen.
Mr Quinn said Mr O'Shaughnessy had told Mr Hyland: "You will be back at least five times to get the job done right." He had then added: "He is a f**king con artist and his work is a rip-off."
Mr O'Shaughnessy had then made a vulgar reference about a child of Mr Collen's after which the gardai were called.
Judge Mathews said Mr O'Shaughnessy and his wife Mary had denied that the defamatory words had been spoken and Mrs O'Shaughnessy had claimed she had to sell up and move to Kildare to get away from problems allegedly associated with the garage.
He preferred the honesty and sincerity of the evidence given by Mr Collen and his customer, Mr Hyland. "I accept that Mr O'Shaughnessy lost the run of himself and went off on an aggressive rant," Judge Mathews said.