Court rules on Adam Clayton files

Wed, Mar 7, 2012, 00:00

A High Court judge has clarified what documents related to U2 bass guitarist Adam Clayton’s expenses should be disclosed in his action over the alleged failure of a bank and a firm of accountants to detect some €4.8 million was allegedly misappropriated from his bank accounts.

Mr Justice Paul Gilligan confirmed today the documents to be provided by Mr Clayton include bank and credit card statements over a five year period from June 2004 to November 2009.

He was clarifying pre-trial discovery issues in the proceedings by Mr Clayon against Bank of Ireland Private Banking Ltd and Gaby Smyth & Co, chartered accountants, Merrion Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4.

The action arises from allegations that Mr Clayton’s former personal assistant, Carol Hawkins, misappropriated sums from his bank accounts over a period of five years to November 2009. Mr Clayton has brought separate proceedings against Ms Hawkins, Crannagh Road, Dublin 14, over that alleged misappropriation.

In his action against the bank and accountants, Mr Clayton, Danesmoate Demesne, Kellystown Road, Rathfarnham, Dublin claims both failed to detect the extent of the alleged fraud.

He is seeking €4.38 million damages and €4.8 million damages respectively against the defendants for alleged negligence and breach of contract arising from alleged misappropriation by Ms Hawkins of more than €4.8 million. The claims are denied.

Mr Clayton alleges his accountants had assured him in September 2008 the sum allegedly misappropriated was about €13,585 when, at that stage, he claims, it was about €4.4 million.

Last November, Mr Justice Gilligan made a series of orders and directions in relation to discovery and exchange of material and documents between the parties in advance of the full hearing of Mr Clayton’s case.

A draft order was drawn up but a dispute arose relating to the exact nature of the material required to be disclosed concerning Mr Clayton’s expenses over the period between June 2004 and November 2009.

Today, Mr Justice Gilligan confirmed Mr Clayton must provide the defendants with all documents including bank statements, credit card statements, receipts, credit card receipts, payroll records, records of other disbursements, cheques and cheque stubs underlying bills invoices and receipts in relation to his financial affairs between June 2004 and November 2009.

The judge said he was satisfied, having read the transcript of last November’s proceedings, those materials were covered by the order made when the discovery motion was before him. If any side was unhappy with the terms of that order, they could appeal to the Supreme Court, he added.

If any further difficulties arose concerning discovery of documents, the parties should return before him, he said.

Marcus Dowling, for the accountants, said his side required all documentation validating all of Mr Clayton’s expenditure during the June 2004-November 2009 period in order to show they could not have detected the alleged misappropriation.

Eamon Marray, for Mr Clayton, said what was being sought from Mr Clayton were documents concerning his expenses which his lawyers intended to rely on as part of the claim against the accountancy firm and bank. His side was happy to provide those documents.

Mr Marray previously told the court the level of discovery being sought by the accountants went “far beyond” what was required.