Dublin student wrongly accused of robbing handbags from Play Nightclub is awarded €30,000 for defamation as court hears it was dangerous allegation to make
AN accusation of handbag robbing by a night club manager against a young student had such a devastating effect on her life that she lost interest in socialising, a judge said today. Chloe O’Toole, of Ballymun Road in Glasnevin, Dublin, was awarded €30,000 damages for defamation against the owner of Play Nightclub Circuit Court President Mr Justice Raymond Groarke said it had been a dangerous allegation to make and there had been no attempt to justify it. Chloe, who is now studying to become a a special effects make-up artist, told the court that when she attended Play Nightclub in D’Olier Street, Dublin, with friends in May 2016 a bouncer approached her and said: “The manager wants you to leave right now.” She said this had been followed by the remark: “You were in here last week robbing handbags.” Barrister Jack Tchrakian, who appeared with Robinson O’Neill solicitors for Chloe, told the Circuit Civil Court that Ms O’Toole had only been able to return to a normal life just recently. Ms O’Toole said in evidence that she had lost all her friends because of the groundless remarks made about her in the nightclub. On the night that she had to leave the club she had been told they had her on camera. She said: “I asked the head bouncer to show me any CCTV recording they might have to substantiate the allegations they were making against me but this was refused. “There were a lot of people, including my friends, staring at me, judging me.” The case was heard in the Circuit Civil Court She said the bouncer had told her in front of her friends that she was a robber and that she had to leave and was no longer welcome in the nightclub. She had felt humiliated, embarrassed, uncomfortable and distressed and thought her friends might believe what she was being accused of. She told Mr Tchrakian: “I no longer have any relationship with those friends because of the incident. “I had a social life but this has only recently been getting back to normal.” Ms O’Toole said she had found it very difficult afterwards to leave her home to go out and rebuild some sort of social life. She had stayed in and got a job in her father’s shop. She was now studying at the special effects make-up college in Dame Street, Dublin. She said: “My social life is still not great but I am slowly getting over it. I thought it was time I tried to push past it.” Solicitor Georgina Robinson, principal partner in Robinson O’Neill solicitors, told the court there had been no response from Ctp Bars Limited, Main Street, Finglas, owner of the Play Nightclub in D’Olier Street, and her firm had obtained judgment against them in default of appearance on behalf of Ms O’Toole.