As citizens we all have the right to basic privacy, and if that right is breached for whatever reason then you may well have cause to seek recompense through the courts.
That was what one family did after a husband and wife and their six-year-old daughter were photographed and videoed without their knowledge or consent by a private eye investigating an insurance claim.
A court heard that the family were covertly photographed in a hotel by an investigator seeking to determine whether the mother was ‘scamming’ an insurance company through her income protection policy, which had kicked in when she fell ill a number of years prior.
The couple had previously settled a separate claim against the insurance company over the incident, which occurred in 2008, confidentially for €60,000 plus costs and were now representing their daughter, now aged 16, in her claim against the company.
The court heard that the girl had developed ‘psychological trauma’ as a child after learning about the photographer. Counsel for the girl told the court that the law in relation to privacy was ‘a tricky area’ and said it could be difficult to recover damages under the Data Protection Act.
The insurance company had stopped making payments on the woman’s income protection policy and had contracted a private eye to ascertain whether she was capable of returning to work. The investigator had followed the unwitting family into the hotel and taken pictures and videos.
The insurance company had previously had a settlement offer of €15,000 turned down and were now offering €50,000 to the girl. The judge said that this seemed like an excellent offer and approved it.
Counsel for the girl said that a separate claim being made by the family against the private investigations firm, which is now in liquidation, could be struck out.