NOVELIST Roddy Doyle must provide a sworn statement that he has only one version of a play he allegedly co-wrote with a man who is suing him for copyright infringement, a High Court judge has ruled.
Mr Justice Michael Hanna yesterday said he did not understand why Mr Doyle had not made this quite clear in a court document he provided as part of his defence of an action being brought by dramatist Bisi Adigun against the Abbey and the novelist over a modern version of the 'Playboy of the Western World'.
The judge was speaking when ruling in favour of an application by Mr Adigun, seeking that Mr Doyle furnish him with the alleged second 'Playboy' script – which Mr Doyle says does not exist.
Mr Doyle had "no excuse" for not making it clear he did not have a second version when he swore an affidavit in response to Mr Adigun's application for disclosure of documents in preparation for the Adigun action, the judge said.
"He is a craftsman with words, if he (Mr Doyle) does not understand the affidavit he is swearing, it does not reflect particularly well on him," the judge said.
He ordered Mr Doyle to swear in a new affidavit that there was only ever one script, as his defence team had told the court yesterday, and that no alternative existed.
He also granted costs of the application to Mr Adigun.
In his application for disclosure, Mr Adigun claimed 120 changes had been made to the version he co-wrote with Mr Doyle and which was successfully produced in the Dublin Theatre Festival in 2007.
The main character, playboy Christy Mahon, is a Nigerian asylum seeker in this version.
In his main action, Mr Adigun claims the Abbey, against his wishes, and in conjunction with Mr Doyle, remounted "a distorted version" in 2008/9, produced by director Jimmy Fay.
Mr Adigun, of Moorefield Cottages, Roebuck Road, Clonskeagh, Dublin, is suing the Abbey, Mr Fay and Mr Doyle over that staging of the play.
Mr Doyle, who was not in court yesterday, along with the other two defendants, disputes Mr Adigun's claims.