Brother of TD Boyd Barrett wins €7,500 over defamation
A BROTHER of TD Richard Boyd Barrett has been awarded damages for defamation of character against a former landlord.
Douglas Boyd Barrett, a self-employed painter and decorator, of Brigadoon, Station Road, Glenageary, Co Dublin, claimed that landlord John Cunningham had stated the words: "I reckon Doug robbed me..." in a conversation in a pub.
He further alleged that Mr Cunningham, of Churchview Road, Killiney, Co Dublin, had also told a mutual acquaintance: "I heard Doug was suspected of robbing from someone else in the past."
Mr Boyd Barrett said he had been greatly distressed by the false allegations made against him.
Judge Matthew Deery, awarding Mr Boyd Barrett €7,500 damages and costs, said he accepted the evidence of Stephen Lawlor that Mr Cunningham had spoken the defamatory words to him in The Graduate pub in Killiney, in October 2010.
Conor E Byrne, counsel for Mr Boyd Barrett, told the court his client had been a single-room lodger with Mr Cunningham for a year but had left the residence just prior to the conversation between Mr Cunningham and Mr Lawlor in The Graduate.
Mr Cunningham denied having defamed Mr Boyd Barrett.
When cross-examined by Mr Byrne about having sent Mr Boyd Barrett an e-mail demanding the return of his laptop, he said: "I might do something like that maybe after 15 or 16 pints in a drunken state in the early hours of the morning."
Mr Cunningham told the court that he had given Mr Boyd Barrett notice to quit because he could no longer live with him.
Later, there had been a robbery in the house and his laptop and a cashbox and cash were missing.
He had called the garda who told him they could not find any signs of a break-in.
They had searched the house, including Mr Boyd Barrett's room, but nothing had been recovered.
The judge said there had been a feeling of discontent in the house and relations between Mr Cunningham and Mr Boyd Barrett had not been good.
"One cannot excuse the use of language damaging to a person's reputation under the guise of having a few drinks.
"It seems to me the words were spoken and not retracted. Damage was done to the reputation of Mr Boyd-Barrett without justification," the judge said.
Mr Canny applied for and was granted a stay pending consideration of an appeal to the High Court.