Woman filmed without permission on Donald Trump’s golf course allowed to sue for data privacy violation

An Edinburgh court said Rohan Beyts could proceed with her lawsuit

Rachael Revesz
Thursday 22 December 2016 16:27
Mr Trump's staff at the resort said they filmed Ms Beyts to protect their clients from 'such behaviour'
Mr Trump's staff at the resort said they filmed Ms Beyts to protect their clients from 'such behaviour'

A court in Edinburgh has ruled that a woman can sue Donald Trump’s Aberdeenshire golf resort after she was filmed without her permission as she allegedly urinated behind a sand dune.

The lawyer acting for Rohan Beyts has accused Mr Trump’s staff of breaching the Data Protection Act by taking a film of his client in April, and handing footage to the police. She was charged with public annoyance by two officers who turned up at her door around 10pm in the evening.

Lawyer Mike Dailly said the court's ruling that they could proceed with the case against Mr Trump was "fantastic".

"All attempts to stop the case progressing were rejected by the court so now Trump International Golf Course [Scotland] has a case to answer and witnesses will have to give evidence on its behalf," he told The Guardian.

Mr Dailly told Scottish Legal in September that he was seeking damages of £3,000.

"We have strict laws in Scotland on the collection, holding, sharing and processing of personal data to protect an individual’s privacy," he said at the time.

"In Scotland we also have ancient laws – which have also been enacted by the Scottish Parliament – giving individuals the right to roam in the countryside."

The court’s ruling gives rise to the prospect of 70-year-old Mr Trump facing a battle in the Scottish small claims court against the 62-year-old rambler shortly after he steps into the White House.

"There was no-one in view when I – and I am not admitting anything – sat down in the dunes which suggests that they were keeping out of sight," Ms Beyts told the Sunday Herald.

"I was doing nothing wrong. Actions like this are designed to intimidate. I’ve nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about."

The Trump resort said, when the lawsuit was filed, that Ms Beyts was a critic of the course and made claims that were "factually inaccurate, grossly misleading and have no legal basis".

Ms Beyts has done voluntary work for the John Muir Trust, which protects wild land, and she has famously swam the Gulf of Corryvreckan, the site of the world’s third largest whirlpool, in 2011.

In August it was reported that Trump International Golf Course Scotland breached UK data protection and privacy laws as it failed to register with the information commissioner’s office.

The company, which is wholly owned by the president-elect, operates a CCTV network and handles data on thousands of people, including staff, guests and suppliers. The resort said it was a clerical error and said it has since applied to register.

Mr Trump has already lost one fight in Scottish courts after he challenged the construction of an 11-strong wind turbine development off the coast of his golf course in Menie, saying the wind farm would spoil the view. The challenge was rejected by the UK supreme court.

Ms Beyts’ case was not the first arrest regarding the building of Mr Trump’s golf course.

In 2010 documentary maker Anthony Baxter was arrested and charged with trespassing as he was interviewing neighbours who lived next to the course and who were being faced with eviction.

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