Woman sues Gardaí and former school for defamation suffered in school

A woman who was wrongly accused of extorting money from a younger pupil as a 15-year-old schoolgirl is now suing her former school and the garda authorities for defamation.

Lydia O'Hara has told a High Court jury that she self harmed and tried to take her own life after the false allegations were made at Scoil Chríost Rí in Portlaoise in March 2004.

O'Hara told the jury she was not the troublesome type so she was surprised when one day the school principal called her into her office.

She cried in the witness box as she recalled being met inside by two plain clothes gardaí who told her serious allegations of extortion had been made against her by another pupil.

She then aged 15 had to ask the guards to explain what extortion was, she was then told her rights and her parents were contacted.

That night gardaí called to her house to tell her she was owed a big apology asthe younger student behind the allegations had admitted making it all up.

The school subsequently apologised to O'Hara, however she is suing the board and the garda authorities for an ordeal she claims led to damaging rumours that injured her reputation and allegedly caused emotional suffering.

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