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Saturday 30 August 2014

Rihanna being sued for defamation by Irish former head of security

High Court told pop star sent email to Geoffrey Keating that contained allegedly defamatory comments

Aodhan O'Faolain

Published 28/04/2014 | 17:14

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Singer Rihanna
Singer Rihanna
Rihanna's Irish minder Geoffrey Keating during the singer's visit to Ireland recently. Photo: John Dardis
Rihanna's Irish minder Geoffrey Keating during the singer's visit to Ireland recently. Photo: John Dardis

POPSTAR Rihanna is being sued for making allegedly defamatory comments about her former head of security, the High Court heard.

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The action has been brought by Geoffrey Keating, from Finglas in Dublin, who claims he was defamed in a series of false statements contained in an email sent by the 26-year-old actress/singer in July of last year.

The e-mail was sent both to Mr Keating and his wife.

Mr Keating denies the allegations made against him in the e-mail. He further claims that the untrue statements contained in the communication have gravely injured his reputation and his business.

Arising out of the email, Mr Keating has launched proceedings seeking damages against the singer.

He also wants the court to grant him a number of orders including one directing the singer to publish a correction of the alleged defamation.

Today at the High Court, in a preliminary application, Mr Keating's lawyers secured permission from Mr Justice Michael Peart to serve notice of the intended proceedings on Robyn Fenty, aka Rihanna, outside this jurisdiction.   The papers can be served at her home address at a Penthouse apartment, Lafayette Street, Soho, New York in the United States.

The application was granted on an ex-parte basis (one side only represented in court).

Keith Spencer Bl for Mr Keating, a businessman with an address at Woodbank Drive, Valley Park, Finglas, said his client had acted as head of security for the internationally renowned singer while she was on tour between October 2012 and July 2013.

While no details of the alleged defamatory remarks were given in open court, counsel said the email contained allegations that were "nauseatingly offensive."

Counsel said the same allegedly defamatory allegations were also made in a phone call by the Barbados-born singer to Mr Keating's sister in July 2013.

Mr Keating's solicitor, Gerald Kean, had attempted to serve the proceedings on firms of solicitors based both in Ireland and in the UK, counsel said.

However they were unable to do so after those firms informed Mr Kean they did not have the authority to accept proceedings on Rihanna's behalf.

As a result, Mr Keating's lawyers sought permission from the High Court to serve the proceedings on Rihanna at her home address in New York. 

Mr Justice Peart, who admitted he had no "judicial knowledge" of who Rihanna is, said he was satisfied to make the order allowing Mr Keating's lawyers to serve the singer with notice of the proceedings at that address.

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