Sunday 8 December 2019

Rihanna being sued by former Irish bodyguard for defamation

Rihanna's former head of security Geoffrey Keating. Photo: John Dardis
Rihanna with Irish security guard Geoffrey Keating

Louise Hogan and Tim Healy

POP princess Rihanna is being sued for defamation by her former Irish head of security, after allegedly sending an "untrue" and damaging email to him and his wife.

Geoffrey Keating (36) – who claimed he was left distressed by the email – had acted as a minder for the famous chart-topping singer while she was on tour between October 2012 and July 2013.

Mr Keating claims he was defamed in a series of allegations made in the email sent on July 11, 2013 by the 26-year-old Barbados-born singer to both him and his wife, Dana Kavanagh.

Denying the allegations made in the email, Mr Keating claimed the contents were defamatory in the extreme, and were absolutely and demonstrably untrue.

The bodyguard has began legal proceedings seeking damages from the singer.

The businessman, with an address at Woodbank Drive, Valley Park, Finglas, Dublin, also wants an order from the courts directing the singer to publish a correction of the alleged defamation.


In papers lodged with the High Court in Dublin yesterday, Mr Keating claimed the allegations had caused significant and substantial damage to his family life, reputation and business, causing him distress and anxiety.

It was claimed that Mr Keating was working for Rihanna, and had accompanied her on her concert tour to Germany, but returned home after being unjustly dismissed.

Shortly after his return, the singer allegedly sent the email to his wife and also got in contact with other relatives. No details of the alleged defamatory remarks were provided in the court.

However, Keith Spencer BL, for Mr Keating, said the email contained allegations that were "nauseatingly offensive". And the court heard the same allegedly defamatory comments were made in a phone call by the singer to Mr Keating's sister in July 2013.

Mr Keating's lawyers yesterday secured permission from Mr Justice Michael Peart in a preliminary application at the High Court to serve notice of the intended defamation case on Robyn Fenty – aka Rihanna – outside of the jurisdiction.

The judge agreed to make the order allowing the lawyers serve the papers at her US home address at a Penthouse apartment on Lafayette Street, Soho, New York.

The application was granted by the judge in the absence of any legal representative for the singer.

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

However, the firms had informed Mr Kean they did not have the authority to accept proceedings on Rihanna's behalf. This resulted in the lawyers moving to serve the notice of the proceedings on the singer in New York.

Irish Independent

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