Clayton's case against PA adjourned

U2 bassist Adam Clayton claims an apartment in New York was purchased with his money by his former aide. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

U2 bassist Adam Clayton claims an apartment in New York was purchased with his money by his former aide. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Fri, Feb 8, 2013, 00:00

A High Court application by U2 bassist Adam Clayton to get the proceeds of sale of an apartment in New York allegedly purchased with his money by his former personal assistant Carol Hawkins has been adjourned to allow for settlement talks.

The court heard yesterday Ms Hawkins has lodged appeals against her conviction and seven year sentence imposed after being found guilty of stealing €2.8 million of Mr Clayton’s money.

In proceedings before Mr Justice Paul Gilligan yesterday, lawyers for Mr Clayton of Danesmoate Demesne, Kellystown Road, Rathfarnham, Dublin claimed Ms Hawkins, using Mr Clayton’s money, bought an apartment in New York in 2007 for $465,000.

The property was subsequently sold and about €193,000 remains held in a bank account in the names of lawyers representing the parties.

Ms Hawkins’s lawyers claim they are entitled to more than €70,000 of that sum for fees and they previously obtained freezing orders restraining her dissipating certain assets pending the outcome of proceedings.

Mr Clayton contends, following Mrs Hawkins conviction for stealing €2.8 million on 181 counts of theft of his money over a four-year period, he is entitled to be paid the full amount.

Ms Hawkins, of Crannagh Road in Dublin 14, opposes that claim. Her lawyers argued, under the terms of the freezing order and an agreement between the parties, their legal fees must be paid from the money in the account.

Yesterday, following lengthy discussions between the sides, Mr Justice Gilligan agreed to adjourn the case to a date in early March.

Eamonn Marray, for Mr Clayton, said it was hoped when the matter returns before the court, all that will be required is to strike out the proceedings. It is understood that the terms of any settlement agreement are to be confidential.

Opening the case earlier, Mr Marray said following the conclusion of the criminal proceedings against Mrs Hawkins and what was said in the Circuit Court in mitigation prior to sentence being imposed, she was no longer claiming the New York apartment was her asset. On that basis, Mr Clayton was entitled to the monies held in the account, he said.

Frank Beatty, for Ms Hawkins, said she was contesting the High Court action and had lodged an appeal with the Court of Criminal Appeal against her conviction and severity of sentence.

When the freezing orders were made against his client in 2010, there was an agreement Ms Hawkins could pay legal expenses from the amounts frozen and that agreement was still valid, he said.