Well Done, to Gerald McKevitt, Accused in the Wrong? Always have your Facts?

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Owners of Bald Eagle pub ordered to pay €15,000 to customer accused of doing cocaine in toilet

 6th December 2022

The owners of a well known pub in Dublin have been hit with a €15,000 damages award as a result of their manager having told a customer he had been using cocaine in the toilet.

Judge Elva Duffy said in the Circuit Civil Court that although the manager had denied saying what he was accused of, she believed on the balance of probability that he had used the words: “Get out. The toilets are not for doing cocaine.”

Gerard McKevitt, a retail manager, of Termin Court, Poppintree, Ballymun, Dublin 11, said that on July 31, 2018, in the The Bald Eagle, formerly Smiths of Phibsboro, he had been celebrating his recent engagement.

He told his barrister Liam O’Connell that on the particular night he had visited the gents on several occasions and around closing time he was just coming out of a cubicle in the rest room when he was confronted by the manager who told him to get out.

Mr O’Connell, who appeared with Canning and Co Solicitors, in outlining the case said Mr McKevitt following medical treatment had to use toilet facilities more often than most people.

He would tell the court that the manager had said to him: “Get out. The toilets aren’t for doing cocaine. I can hear you doing cocaine in there.”

After both of them had exited the toilets, the manager had then said in front of others that Mr McKevitt was being “kicked out of the pub for doing coke in the toilet”.

Mr McKevitt had felt so distressed and abhorred at the suggestion he would consume cocaine he immediately called gardaí for their assistance and advice.

Mr O’Connell said his client felt the words meant he was dishonest, had committed a criminal offence, was a drug user and was someone of low social standing.

Judge Duffy said that although the manager had denied in evidence that he had spoken the defamatory words, she believed on the balance of probability that he had. She awarded Mr McKevitt €15,000 damages.

Mr McKevitt had sued David Lestrange, Keith and Jason Molloy and Gareth Slattery, trading as The Bald Eagle Beer and Food Co, Phibsborough Road, Dublin, for defamation of character, a claim for which the court could award up to €75,000 damages.

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