Rohan Beyts loses Trump course urination privacy case

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Media caption,

Rohan Beyts says she wanted to clear her name

A woman who claimed damages after a worker photographed her urinating at an Aberdeenshire golf course founded by Donald Trump has lost her case.

Rohan Beyts sought £3,000 in damages from Trump International, saying staff breached data protection laws.

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

The sheriff ruled that distress was not caused by the company's failure to register under the Data Protection Act.

But Sheriff Donald Corke, sitting in Edinburgh, added that Ms Beyts "should not have been photographed".

He described the criminal case against her as "frivolous" and warned that people "taking pictures of females urinating in the countryside put themselves at real risk of prosecution under public order or voyeurism".

Image caption,
Donald Trump ran the company before he became US president

Ms Beyts, a long-term campaigner against the course, previously told a small claims hearing at Edinburgh Sheriff Court she suffered from bladder problems and was caught short on a walk through the course on 11 April 2016.

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 her evidence showed she was clearly distressed.

Donald Trump ran Trump International before he became US president.

Image source, PA
Image source, @BBCAileenClarke

Paul Motion, representing the company, said Ms Beyt's wide publication of the events through the media and Facebook, including the Trip up Trump page, called into question whether they had caused her distress.

He also suggested the "true basis of the claim has been to publicise opposition to the course".

Mr Motion said upholding her claims would have serious consequences for "the prevention of crime and the apprehension of offenders".

Giving evidence, Ms Beyts said 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 with public urination.

An officer later told her three men had filmed her on their mobiles, which she said caused her "upset".

She said she had opposed the course from the planning stages due to environmental concerns but always protested legally.

The procurator fiscal received a report from the police about the incident but decided to take no further action.

Speaking outside court, Ms Beyts said she was "relieved the case was over".

She added: "To me it was never about the compensation - I wasn't interested in money.

"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 feet of the club house in few view of staff and guests."

Mr Dailly said his client had been "utterly vindicated" and told reporters after the hearing that the sheriff had found her evidence "reliable and credible".

"The reason we've not won compensation is on a technical point," he added.


But Trump International Golf Links said in a statement that the organisation was "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," a spokeswoman said.

"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."

The spokeswoman added that staff had been "flabbergasted" at what they had witnessed.