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Judge's tale of mistaken identity

Even a judge can make a mistake -- even when it comes to identifying his own brother.

Judge Joseph Mathews admitted in the Circuit Civil Court yesterday to having mistaken a complete stranger for his brother.

"I was walking across the car park in the Stillorgan Shopping Centre when I saw my younger brother who has lived and worked for years in Australia," Judge Mathews said.

"I went up to him and not only said 'why the hell are you here?' but embraced him. The stranger asked me 'who the hell are you?' so obviously my brother has a double," the judge said.

Judge Mathews told the story to uproarious laughter in the Circuit Civil Court yesterday to emphasise the possibility of mistaken identity in a case in which a Co Westmeath said she had been defamed by an employee of Dunnes Stores.

Linda Shields, of River Village, Monksland, Athlone, claimed that on October 13, 2008, while shopping in Dunnes Stores at Montree, Athlone, a manager had publicly told her she was barred from the shop.


She said Dunnes' textile manager Toni Walsh had said to her: "I told you that your invitation to visit this shop is removed and has been on numerous occasions ... you know well that you are barred."Ms Shields insisted she had never been barred from the shop.

However Judge Mathews agreed with Shane English, counsel for Dunnes, that Ms Walsh had on several occasions told Ms Shields she was not welcome to shop in the store and threw out Ms Shields' €38,000 damages claim and ordered that she pay the store's legal costs.