Schoolgirl accused of stealing shoes gets €15,000
An accusation that a schoolgirl had stolen a pair of shoes worth €5 has cost Penneys and their security company more than €15,000.
Marguerite Coughlan last night said the treatment of her then 14-year-old daughter Sarah Coughlan by the clothing chain and its security company personnel was "disgraceful".
Sarah had bought the plain white runners in Penneys on Mary Street, Dublin, in May last year for a play at Larkin Community College, just off Sean McDermott Street.
After having paid for them at the till, she noticed they were shop-soiled and was told by the sales girl she could take another pair instead.
"She changed the shoes and when she was leaving she was accosted by a store detective and accused of not having paid for the shoes," her barrister John Nolan told the Circuit Civil Court yesterday.
"Despite producing her receipt for the shoes, the store detective insisted on searching her bag and publicly accusing her of shoplifting."
Mr Nolan said Sarah, from Champions Avenue, Dublin, had then been taken by the arm and marched robustly to a basement room where she had been interrogated.
He said Sarah's mobile phone had been taken from her and she had been refused several requests to phone her mother.
"They frightened a 14-year-old child. I don't know what they wanted her to tell them, she had a receipt. It could have been settled in two seconds flat," Ms Coughlan told the Irish Independent last night .
Circuit Court president, Mr Justice Matthew Deery, approved the settlement decree against Primark, trading as Penneys, and Federal Security Services Ltd, Swords Business Park, Co Dublin, saying Sarah had suffered a very bad experience.
The defendants were also ordered to pay legal costs for all sides, resulting in an estimated bill of more than €25,000.