'Belligerent' taxi driver obstructed from leaving shopping centre car park loses €75k damages claim

A Russian man, who claimed €75,000 damages for defamation and unlawful imprisonment at The Pavillions Shopping Centre, Swords, was today awarded €100 after a judge found he had been prevented for one minute from exiting the centre car park.

Circuit Court President Mr Justice Raymond Groarke threw out Vladimirs Korolovs defamation claim against The Pavillions Administration Limited but accepted his car had been prevented for 60 seconds from departing the car park.

Judge Groarke said Mr Korolovs, of the Nurseries, Forest Road, Swords, had claimed that on four occasions when he visited the shopping centre in November 2015 he had been defamed by reason of the fact he had been brought into public ridicule by security staff.

He had alleged that a considerable number of security staff had marched him down the concourse of the shopping centre and stood around him and his wife, Svetlana Korlova, at an ATM before unlawfully imprisoning him by refusing “for no more than a minute” to raise the car park barrier to allow his car leave.

The judge told barrister Andrew Walker, who appeared with Shaffrey Solicitors for The Pavillions, the court was satisfied Mr Korolovs had known perfectly well that on two occasions he was not welcome in the centre and that he was barred.

Judge Groarke added that Korolovs was also aware his wife, two months earlier, had been caught shoplifting in Dunnes Store at the centre and that she was barred. The court did not believe “the cock and bull story” he had put forward that his wife had been given permission by a local garda to re-enter the centre.

“I don’t believe for a moment that his wife had permission to be on the premises and consequently security officers were within their rights to ask her to leave,” Judge Groarke said.

He said Mr Korolovs, a taxi driver in Dublin for more than two years, had intervened both verbally and physically by telling the security officers to “f**k off.” He had refused to leave and had insisted on remaining on the premises.

“This man’s attitude at all times has been belligerent, obstructive and discourteous,” Judge Groarke said.

Judge Groarke said the security staff had not been justified in leaving the car park barrier down even for one minute while he was in his car in circumstances where he was leaving and consequently there was a commission of unlawful imprisonment.

He said Mr Korolovs had, by his conduct, contributed to a substantial degree to what had taken place and the court would measure compensation in the sum of €100. He made no order as to costs.

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