A woman who made a compensation claim for ‘distress’ after a worker took a picture of her urinating on US President Donald Trump’s Aberdeenshire golf course said she is “relieved” despite losing her case for damages.
Carol Rohan Beyts, 62, was seeking £3,000 from Trump International Golf Links Scotland, claiming staff had breached data protection legislation. The retired social worker suffered from urinary incontinence and became desperate for a pee while crossing the Menie Estate with a friend. But little did she know, as she squatted down in the sand dunes on April 11 last year, that two male employees were watching and taking pictures from 230 metres away.
It later emerged that a visitor had also filmed her on his mobile phone. As Ms Beyts went to leave, thinking she had been discreet, staff and a press photographer approached her to get more snaps. She was later charged with what Sheriff Donald Corke described in court as a “frivolous criminal complaint” which was dropped.
However, it did not stop a horrified Ms Beyts from making a counterclaim against Trump International Gold Links Scotland, for “distress” as a result of breaching her privacy.
She lost the £3,000 compensation claim on the grounds that her distress was not caused by the company’s failure to register under the Data Protection Act, but is nonetheless still smiling and “relieved” despite being ordered to gift President Trump with £300 in legal expenses.
Mrs Beyts said: “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.”
Long-term opponent of golf course
Paul Motion QC, representing Trump International, claimed Beyts was a “long-term opponent” of the Menie development and was involved with a Facebook page against the course, but had also led a protest march against it. Ms Beyts agreed with the claims and said she had opposed the golf course from its infancy due to planning concerns over environmental damage. However her act of desperation wasn’t a mildly ‘dirty protest’ or a symbolic gesture.
Message for Donald Trump
And by no means was she was short of words for the new president. “My message for Donald Trump is treat people with respect and dignity, and you will get treated with respect and dignity”, Ms Beyts asserted.
“I was quite upset that I had a conversation possibly with the men that had filmed me and not a word was mentioned to me. “I’m always very careful that I am not overlooked I go to extraordinary lengths — I’m slightly paranoid that there might be somebody hiding behind a tree or something. It sounds ridiculous but that’s how I feel.”
A poor attempt at self-publicity?
It was a small case, but not one Trump International took kindly to. The organisation claimed Ms Beyts pursued the case in a “poor attempt at self-publicity”, adding: “It is 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.” However, a spokesperson for the Menie Estate also added: “We are satisfied justice has prevailed.”
While Sheriff Corke had no choice but to rule against Ms Beyts, he scolded the staff for their actions, which they defended as evidence gathering. He said: “Officious bystanders taking pictures of females urinating in the countryside put themselves at real risk of prosecution under public order or voyeurism”.