News Courts

Wednesday 21 November 2018

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

Pic shows: Irish bodyguard Geoffrey Keating and Rihanna
Pic shows: Irish bodyguard Geoffrey Keating and Rihanna

Tim Healy

Singer 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 under the name 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 what she says was a false and malicious email sent on July 11, 2013, about her (Kavanagh's) husband Geoffrey Keating who was Rihanna's head of security in 2012 and 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 that 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 a client list of over 5,000, 95 per cent of whom were female and it attracted other high profile celebrities.

Rihanna denies the claims.

Irish bodyguard Geoffrey Keating and Rihanna
Irish bodyguard Geoffrey Keating and Rihanna

On Thursday, 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.

Ms Kavangh's counsel said what Ms Fenty (Rihanna) 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 (Rihanna) 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 that it is not easy to serve papers on Rihanna because where ever she travels she is surrounded by body 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.

"There is no merit whatsoever in this application which is brutally unfair to my client", he said.

The defendant had never challenged the jurisdiction to the the Irish court to deal with this case.   This was "a straight up attempt" to evade service of the papers, he said.

The case continues.

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