Student awarded €10.5k because security burst into train station toilet
A 22-year-old student, who claimed he was “humiliated and degraded” when security men broke into a toilet cubicle he was using in Heuston Train Station, Dublin, has won damages in the Circuit Civil Court.
Daniel Masterson told Judge Jacqueline Linnane his trousers were round his ankles and his genitals were exposed as he tried to protect his privacy after security guards pushed in the door and accused him of smoking and drug taking.
Barrister Tom Horan, who appeared with solicitors D’arcy Horan for Masterson, told the court the then 19-year-old had been defamed and had his privacy breached in the incident on April 24, 2013.
Masterson, of Latsey, Canningstown, Cootehill, and a student at Cavan Technical Institute, said he had been at the train station to see off his brother, Shane, and had gone to the rest room to use the toilet.
As he was sitting on the toilet bowl the door, which he had locked, had been pushed in on him and up to five security men accused him of smoking and taking heroin which he had never done in his lifetime. They had ushered him out of the station.
“I wasn’t given a chance to make myself decent. My trousers and underpants were down and my genitals were on show,” he told Mr Horan.
He said one of the security team shouted: “F**king drugs, F**king drugs” after they had burst open the door. Masterson denied he had been smoking and said he had never taken drugs in his life. He had felt abused and violated.
The proceedings took a dramatic turn when defendants STT Risk Management and STT Corporate Security Limited called security guard Igoris Kozlovas to give evidence.
He told the court he and a colleague had opened the toilet door when they had seen smoke rising from the cubicle
“The man inside was in his forties or fifties,” Kozlovas said. “I have never seen the man before the court in my life before. It wasn’t him. It wasn’t him.”
Judge Linnane, who heard there had been several hours difference between the time Masterson said he had been defamed and the incident involving Kozlovas, said the defence case, that Masterson’s claim was a fabrication, had “evaporated” in the witness box when Mr Kozlovas was called.
She awarded Masterson €10,500 damages and his legal costs.