Thursday 29 September 2016

Former partner of ballet star asks judge to rule Facebook post was defamatory

Ray Managh

Published 17/12/2015 | 12:31

Monica Loughman
Monica Loughman
Fraser Brown, business partner of ballet dancer Monica Loughman

Fraser Brown, former live-in and business partner of well-known Irish ballet dancer Monica Loughman, today asked a judge to declare that a statement allegedly published by her about him on Facebook was defamatory.

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Brown, of Willow Park Avenue, Glasnevin, Dublin, also asked Judge Jacqueline Linnane in the Circuit Civil Court to direct that Loughman publicly correct the statement and to make an order prohibiting her from further publication of the statement.

Brown told the court his applications related to a High Court dispute over a company he and Loughman “co-owned.”

Barrister Benedict O’Floinn, counsel for Ms Loughman, of The Courtyard, Castleside Drive, Rathfarnham, Dublin, said he did not accept the Mr Brown’s characterisation of the issues between the parties.

He told Judge Linnane the parties were involved in proceedings before the High Court and, while he did not accept Mr Brown had a valid complaint, any issue should properly be made in the context of the High Court proceedings.

Mr O’Floinn said Mr Brown had taken wrong proceedings in the wrong court.

Judge Linnane adjourned the applications until February next and directed that sworn affidavits be exchanged between the parties and entered in the court file before then.

A High Court injunction, including some conditions by consent, remains in place against Ms Loughman’s “former business partner” Brown until a dispute between them is determined by the court.

Ms Loughman earlier this year brought High Court proceedings against Brown in respect of the Monica Loughman Ballet Company Ltd which was set up in 2011.  Brown was restrained from terminating her employment with the company or from having the company liquidated.

The company operates a ballet school with more than 50 dancers and carries out a wide range of activities in relation to ballet.

Ms Loughman, in her High Court proceedings, alleges that, following the end of their personal relationship, Brown, who had acted as the company’s finance manager, agreed he would no longer be part of the business.

She alleges he had refused to disengage from the company or from her life generally and she feared her reputation in Ireland and internationally would be damaged.

Ms Loughman told the court she had met Brown, a diamond dealer, in 2010 and he had assisted her with administrative and financial matters connected with the ballet company.  They had lived together until unhappy differences had arisen in 2014.

The High Court had been told Ms Loughman was well known for her work promoting ballet and as a writer and a television presenter.

She had left Ireland to join the Perm State Ballet in Russia at the age of 14 and had set up a ballet company on her return to Ireland.

She had appeared in an Irish TV series called Ballet Chancers which introduced six people who had no previous engagement with ballet to the popular form of dance.

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