International badminton player Nigel Boyne was told by a judge today to pay the manager of Baldoyle Badminton Centre, Jean Denihan, €30,000 damages for assaulting and defaming her.
Boyne, of Elm Mount Lawn, Beaumont, Dublin, donned a Star Wars-like mask under a hooded jacket as he ran from the Four Courts complex following the decision of Circuit Court President, Mr Justice Raymond Groarke.
Judge Groarke accepted that as Boyne wrestled on the floor with another badminton player at a fund raiser in the Baldoyle Centre his hand came into contact with Ms Denihan causing her to fall backwards in a whiplash-type fashion as she tried to separate them.
The judge said Boyne then went on Face Book to paint 57-year-old Ms Denihan as “the evil one of Baldoyle” and a woman maliciously minded towards him who could only be removed 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.
Judge Groarke told barrister Barney Quirke, who appeared with solicitors Bowler Geraghty for Ms Denihan, that Boyne’s remarks on Face Book specifically related to his client. He had not just used strong language or colourful terminology 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 today Boyne said he stood by what he had said about Ms Denihan and what Judge Groarke said he had published to the wider badminton community on the internet.
Judge Groarke said the matter went back to a tournament in which Boyne had not been allowed to take part in 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 fund raiser in Baldoyle Badminton Centre on April 5, 2013 Boyne had become involved in an incident with another player Barry Dickson who was drunk. As they wrestled on the floor Ms Denihan, manager of the centre, bent over to try to separate them.
She had 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.
Judge Groarke said Ms Denihan had suffered trauma and stress with loss of confidence. The court’s main difficulty was Mr Boyne’s persistence in “standing over” the allegations he had posted on Face Book and repeated in court as to what he thought and said about Ms Denihan.
He told Mr Quirke that Ms Denihan was entitled to recover damages of €30,000 for defamation and assault against Mr Boyne together with legal costs. He refused a stay on the court’s orders pending an appeal.