Sunday 18 August 2019

Rihanna tries to stop case over 'malicious' email about her Irish head of security

Pop star Rihanna. Photo: REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Pop star Rihanna. Photo: REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

Tim Healy

Pop star Rihanna is challenging High Court proceedings brought against her by an Irish woman over the alleged circulation of "malicious falsehoods" by the performer.

Dana Kavanagh (43), Woodbank Drive, Valley Park, Finglas, Dublin, is suing the Barbados-born artist Robyn Fenty, aka Rihanna, with an address at Lafayette Street, New York.

Ms Kavanagh claims she was caused mental distress and emotional suffering as a result of a "false and malicious" email sent on July 11, 2013, about Kavanagh's husband Geoffrey Keating, who was Rihanna's head of security in 2012-2013.

She is also suing over a phone call the singer allegedly made to Ms Kavanagh's sister-in-law in relation to the same matter.

She claims as a result of the allegations a business she built up with Mr Keating, called Geoff Keating Media, had to cease trading. She says it had a client list of over 5,000, 95pc of whom were female, and it attracted other high profile celebrities. Rihanna denies the claims.

Yesterday, Rihanna's Irish lawyers asked the High Court's Ms Justice Miriam O'Regan to set aside the purported service of proceedings on the singer's New York home because it was not in accordance with law.

Rihanna's former head of security Geoff Keating
Rihanna's former head of security Geoff Keating

Ms Kavanagh's counsel said what Ms Fenty was doing was looking for the assistance of the court in seeking to obstruct his client in bringing proceedings here.

Kelley Smith BL, for Rihanna, said service of the papers was invalid because it was not done in accordance with the Hague Convention or in accordance with New York State and US federal law governing service of legal documents.

Ms Smith said it was claimed by the Kavanagh side a process server employed by a Precision One Inc, a licensed and bonded summons-serving company in New York, called to Rihanna's Lafayette Street apartment in November 2015 and again in October 2016.

Counsel said the papers server said in an affidavit he confirmed with the apartment concierge that Ms Fenty was not on active military service but the concierge refused to give his name or give permission to the server to access her apartment itself.

The boss of Precision One swore an affidavit saying it is not easy to serve papers on Ms Fenty because where ever she travels she is surrounded by bod guards.

Ms Smith said not only was the first purported service, in November 2015, defective under law, it was done before proceedings were actually issued in the central office of the Irish High Court in December 2015.

There was a second attempt at service in October 2016 when it was suggested papers were left with the concierge and also sent to Rihanna's management and US lawyers but this was still not done in accordance with law, Ms Smith said.

Barney Quirke BL, for Ms Kavanagh, said the summons servers had tried not once but four times to serve the papers. On two of those occasions he was not allowed to leave the papers at the apartment building but was on two others.

The defendant had never challenged the jurisdiction to the Irish court to deal with this case. The case continues.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News