Now this is VERY interesting. I would love to get an email or postal address for the judge to send a thank you note.
A JUDGE has ruled that a Clare woman maliciously slandered a delivery man by falsely claiming that he had sexually assaulted her while making a delivery of building supplies to her home.
At Ennis Circuit Court on Friday, Judge James O’Donohoe found that Eileen Kearse of 53 Clancy Park, Ennis, maliciously slandered married father-of-four, James Kennedy of Carrowduff, Kilshanny, north Clare to his employers in September 2004.
Judge O’Donohoe ordered that retired truck driver, Mr Kennedy be paid €7,500 in damages and also ordered Ms Kearse to pay his costs.
Ms Kearse alleged that during a delivery to her home in April 2004, Mr Kennedy had pinned her up against the sink in her kitchen in her home by grabbing her arms and pushing himself against her, making a lewd comment.
The married woman also alleged that she threw Mr Kennedy off, before he followed her and pinned her against the door when she grabbed a hammer nearby to protect herself.
However, Mr Kennedy had denied the allegations, telling the court, “I had no act, hand or part in any assault on the woman.”
Counsel for Mr Kennedy, Donal O’Rourke BL said that Ms Kearse had made the malicious allegation of sexual assault as part of a vendetta against Mr Kennedy because of continuing trouble between Mr Kennedy and Ms Kearse’s son, Jonathan, at their workplace, Shannonside Building Supplies in Ennis.
In evidence, Ms Kearse, now living in Lissycasey, denied this. She told the court: “I told the truth. James Kennedy attacked me in my own home.”
However, in his judgment, Judge O’Donohoe said: “I’ve no doubt that Eileen Kearse maliciously slandered Mr Kennedy to his employers in September 2004.”
He added: “The motive, I have no doubt, relates to her son and his precarious employment position at Shannonside Building Supplies and his difficult relationship with Mr Kennedy.”
Judge O’Donohoe said: “The defendant did not report the sexual assault to the Gardaí until after her son’s job had been terminated. I found the defendant to be unreliable in her evidence, particularly in relation to the date of the alleged assault.”
The judge stated that qualified privilege would be a legal defence in a defamation action when reporting such an incident.
However, Judge O’Donohoe said that the legal position is that malice destroys Ms Kearse’s qualified privilege and he found that to be the case in this instance.
Stating that Mr Kennedy be paid €7,500 in damages, Judge O’Donohoe said that this figure would have been higher but for Ms Kearse didn’t of her own accord immediately report or slander him to his employer.
“I take into account, while he suffered personal distress, Mr Kennedy didn’t suffer any ill consequences as a result of the report to his employer where they communicated to him that they were satisfied these events didn’t happen,” said the judge.
Speaking afterwards, Mr Kennedy said that he was “very happy” with the outcome. He said: “I’m glad I took the action – for everyone’s sake.”