A woman who claims she was filmed urinating on US President Donald Trump’s Aberdeenshire golf course has been accused of pursing damages to “publicise opposition to the course”.
Carol Rohan Beyts, known as Rohan, is claiming £3,000 in damages from Trump International Golf Links Scotland, claiming staff at the Menie estate course breached data protection laws by ‘’secretly filming’’ her.
A long-term campaigner against the course, she told a small claims hearing at Edinburgh Sheriff Court she suffers from bladder problems and was caught short on a walk through the course on April 11 last year.
She added she was “shocked” to be told by police she had been filmed, leaving her “slightly paranoid” about urinating outside.
Her lawyer Mike Dailly said photographs of her urinating had been “captured unlawfully” by course staff as it was not registered under the Data Protection Act.
He said greenkeeper Edward Irvine, 23 - who denied filming the 62-year-old but said he had taken photos of her urinating as “evidence” of what he thought was a criminal act - had given evidence which was “somewhat contradictory and somewhat inconsistent” while Ms Beyt’s had been “credible, clear and consistent” and had showed she was distressed.
Mr Dailly asked Sheriff Donald Corke to find in favour of Ms Beyts and award £3,000 in damages.
But Paul Motion QC, representing Trump International, asked Sheriff Corke to reject the claims.
Mr Motion said Ms Beyt’s wide publication of the events through the media and Facebook called into question whether they had caused her distress.
He said: “It seems somewhat ironic to demand compensation for a breach of privacy in such a public way.
“It may be that the true basis of the claim has been to publicise opposition to the course or possibly to stand up for the right to roam and the rights of walkers.”
He told the court if her claim is upheld “the consequences are serious for the prevention of crime and the apprehension of offenders” and it had been “reasonable, proportionate and fair” for an employee to take a photograph if he believed a crime had been committed.
Mr Motion added: “To become liable in charges due to a technical registration default would have an adverse effect on the prevention and detection of crime.”
Giving evidence previously, Ms Beyts told the court she was walking on the course when she had hidden in sand dunes out of sight as she urgently needed the toilet.
Four days later, police visited her home in Montrose, Angus, and charged her for public urination and police later told her three men had filmed her on their mobiles, which she said caused her “upset”.
Sheriff Corke told the court he plans to make a decision on the case on Wednesday.
A statement from Trump International Golf Links, Scotland said:
“We are satisfied that justice has prevailed. The disingenuous claim by Rohan Beyts was a perversion of the truth and nothing more than a poor attempt at self-publicity in an effort to garner support for her anti-Trump, anti-business propaganda.
“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.
“Rohan Beyts is a shameless activist with a history of antagonistic behaviour.
“She came onto our property with a hostile opponent of the project looking for trouble. We are a fully operational golf and leisure resort, with public restrooms.
“Had her intentions been honourable she would have used the facilities available to her.