Shop owner told to pay €9k to protester she punched
A furrier who punched and injured a young woman during an animal rights protest outside her shop, has been told by a judge to pay the protester €9,000 damages for personal injury arising from the assault.
Judge Matthew Deery decided to proceed with the claim of 24-year-old Laura Broxson in the absence of the defendant, Marie Murphy, furrier of A Store is Born, Clarendon Street, Dublin.
He had been told that due to a breakdown in communications in the office of the solicitor representing Murphy she had not turned up for yesterday's hearing.
Judge Deery decided to go ahead with the case when barrister Anthony Lowry, counsel for Ms Broxson, said Murphy's solicitor had been served on November 1 with notice of the trial and this was the third time the incident had been processed through the courts.
He said Murphy had been convicted in the District Court but this had been overturned in a Circuit Court appeal.
It was unacceptable that the court should be told at the last minute that she now did not know of yesterday's civil trial.
Ms Broxson, of Burnell Green, Northern Cross, Malahide Road, Dublin, told the court that when she was 18 she set up NARA, the National Animal Rights Association.
On December 19, 2009 she and a number of animal rights supporters had been protesting with posters and handing out leaflets outside Murphy's store in Clarendon Street when the assault took place.
Murphy, shouting and angry, had come out of the shop and shoved and punched her in the face, knocking her to the ground. She received injuries to her lower lip, left knee and arm. Psychologist Dr Tony Bates told the court he saw the incident as he walked past the shop. Murphy had come out very red and enraged and had hit Ms Broxson in the face, knocking her down.
He had kept walking, but had given evidence in both of the earlier court hearings.
Several of Ms Broxson's fellow protesters also gave evidence of seeing Murphy assault her.
Judge Deery said the protesters had not been blocking the entrance to the shop and there was independent evidence from Dr Bates of Murphy having come out in a very aggressive fashion and striking Ms Broxson.
Murphy was upset that the protest was taking place outside her premises, but she was not entitled to assault Ms Broxson as she did.
He also awarded court costs against Murphy.