Scots gran filmed urinating on Trump golf resort 'relieved' despite court fail

5 April 2017, 15:37

Rohan Beyts

A woman who claimed damages after a worker photographed her urinating at US President Donald Trump's Aberdeenshire golf course said she is "relieved'' despite losing her case.

Carol Rohan Beyts, known as Rohan, 62, sought £3,000 in damages from Trump International Golf Links Scotland, claiming staff breached data protection laws by ''secretly filming'' her when she was caught short at the Menie estate course.

A staff member said he photographed her for evidence of a "criminal act'' and the firm contested her claims.

A sheriff ruled she should "not have been photographed'' but that she was not entitled to compensation as her distress was not caused by the company's failure to register under the Data Protection Act.

Sheriff Donald Corke said the criminal case brought against her, which was later dropped, was "frivolous'' and warned: "Officious bystanders taking pictures of females urinating in the countryside put themselves at real risk of prosecution under public order or voyeurism''.

Ms Beyts, a long-term campaigner against the course, previously told the small claims hearing at Edinburgh Sheriff Court she suffers from bladder problems and squatted in sand dunes on a walk through the course on April 11 last year, only to be "shocked'' when police told her she had been filmed, leaving her ``slightly paranoid'' about urinating outside.

In his ruling, Sheriff Corke found Ms Beyts had hidden to go to the toilet and did not think she would be seen, but was ``under surveillance'' by three men, one of whom took a picture of her instead of ``giving her privacy''.

He added: "She was and remains distressed by the fact that men watched her urinating and she had been photographed in the act.''

He said he found Ms Beyts "credible and reliable, notwithstanding her public stance against the development at Menie'' and preferred her evidence to greenskeeper Edward Irvine's, where they conflicted, as he had found him  "evasive''.

The sheriff added: "He was in the very embarrassing position of trying to justify taking a photograph of a woman urinating in circumstances where she would have a reasonable expectation of privacy.''

He said although she was distressed, there was "no causal connection'' between her distress and the firm's failure to register under the Data Protection Act, and so her claim for damages failed, but £750 compensation would have been awarded if she had won.

Following the ruling, Ms Beyts said she was "very relieved'', adding: "To me it was never about the monetary compensation, I wasn't interested in that.

"I was only interested in clearing my name when the Trump organisation representative spoke of me committing a deliberate and shameful act within a few hundred feet of the clubhouse in full view of staff and guests. That was not the case.''

Asked if she had a message for Mr Trump, added: "My message for Donald Trump is treat people with respect and dignity, and you will get treated with respect and dignity.''

She appealed for him to donate to her fundraising campaign raising money for the charitable work of her lawyers from Govan Law Centre.

Her lawyer Mike Dailly said: "Rohan has won on the facts in this case. There's absolutely no doubt about that. She's been vindicated on the facts.

"The sheriff has found very clearly that Rohan should not have been photographed on the Trump Menie golf course and that she suffered distress because of that photographing by the surveillance of the Trump organisation.''

He said they have failed to win compensation "on a technical point''.

The course said in a statement: "We are satisfied that justice has prevailed.''

The organisation claimed Ms Beyts had brought the case in a "poor attempt at self-publicity'', adding: "It's a disgrace that valuable time and money has been wasted defending a genuine north-east business and its honest, hard-working personnel from this nonsense.''