Rihanna sued over alleged defamation in High Court

Singer allegedly made defamatory comments about former head of security

A Dublin-based former security chief for singer Rihanna (above) is taking the pop star to court over an email she sent to him. Photograph: Christopher Polk/Getty Images

A Dublin-based former security chief for singer Rihanna (above) is taking the pop star to court over an email she sent to him. Photograph: Christopher Polk/Getty Images

Mon, Apr 28, 2014, 19:27

Pop singer Rihanna is being sued at the High Court over allegedly making defamatory comments about her former head of security.

Dublin-based Geoffrey Keating claims he was defamed in a series of false statements contained in an email sent by the 26-year-old singer last July to Mr Keating and his wife.

Mr Keating denies as untrue allegations made against him in the email of July 11th, 2013 and alleges the statements in that communication have gravely injured his reputation and his business.

Arising out of the email, Mr Keating has launched proceedings seeking damages for alleged defamation. He also wants orders including one directing the singer to publish a correction of the alleged defamation.

Yesterday, in a pre-trial application, Mr Keating’s lawyers secured permission from Mr Justice Michael Peart to serve notice of the intended proceedings on Robyn Fenty, aka Rihanna, at her address at a penthouse apartment at Lafayette Street, Soho, New York in the US. The application was made ex-parte (one side only represented).


On tour
Keith Spencer, for Mr Keating, of Woodbank Drive, Valley Park, Finglas, Dublin, said his client had acted as head of security for the singer while she was on tour between October 2012 and July 2013.

While no details of the alleged defamatory remarks were outlined, counsel said the email contained allegations that were “nauseatingly offensive”.

Counsel said it was Mr Keating’s case he was defamed in the email and that the same allegedly defamatory allegations were made in a phone call by Rihanna, also made in July 2013, to Mr Keating’s sister.

Mr Keating’s solicitor, Gerald Kean, had attempted to serve the proceedings on firms of solicitors based both in Ireland and in the UK, but those firms had said they did not have the authority to accept proceedings on Rihanna’s behalf, counsel said.


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

Mr Justice Peart, who said he had no “judicial knowledge” of Rihanna, said he was satisfied to make the order allowing Mr Keating’s lawyers to serve the singer with notice of the proceedings.