Defamation

Boylesports to Pay Compensation for Defamation in a Betting Shop


 

The bookmaker Boylesports has been ordered to pay €5,000 compensation for defamation in a betting shop to a customer unjustifiably denied a bet and barred.

In November 2013, Christopher Sower went to place a bet at the Boylesports betting shop in Parkway, Dublin; when he was told by the assistant manager – Ashley Fitzpatrick – that he could not bet in the shop and that he was barred from ever entering the premises again.

As it turned out Ms Fitzpatrick had confused Christopher with another customer who had previously been disruptive in the betting shop, but Christopher was “mortified and embarrassed” by what the assistant manager had said because it was within earshot of other customers that knew him.

A few days later Christopher telephoned Boylesports customer services to report the incident and was offered an apology and a free €100 bet. Christopher declined the offer and instead sought legal advice and made a claim for compensation for defamation in a betting shop.

At the Circuit Civil Court, Mr Justice Raymond Groarke heard that Ms Fitzpatrick had made the allegations in error because she had only been told about the disruptive customer by her manager, who had failed to show her a photograph of the customer she was supposed to bar.

Boylesports admitted that a mistake had been made, but argued that Ms Fitzpatrick had later realized her mistake and apologized to Christopher. Furthermore, the betting company claimed, it was unlikely that any other customers in the betting shop had been aware of the alleged defamatory incident.

After finding that the manager of the Parkway betting shop had been negligent by failing to provide adequate identification of the disruptive customer, and saying that he was satisfied that Christopher had been defamed, Judge Groarke ordered Boylesports to pay Christopher €5,000 compensation for defamation in a betting shop.