Irish Harry Potter actor ordered to pay former agent €260,000

High Court told Devon Murray spent money earned on ‘girls, drink and cars’

An actor who played the role of an Irish student in the Harry Potter film series must pay €260,000 in commission fees due to his former agent, the High Court has ruled.

Devon Murray earned more than €1 million from the films, the court heard.

After the judgment on Friday, he said he had not just spent the money on drink, cars and women, as the court had heard, he also spent it on horses and property “but the arse fell out of that”.

“It wasn’t all women, cars and drink,” he said.


He was “a completely naive child” when he entered the agreement with his former agent Neil Brooks, he said.

He would never trade his involvement in Harry Potter, in which he played the character Seamus Finnigan, “for the world”.

He has found it very hard to get work since and believed it may be due to the dispute with his former agent, he said.

In his judgment earlier, Mr Justice Michael Moriarty said, in making the award against Mr Murray and against his parents Fidelma and Michael, he was sorry things did not work out for Devon.

The actor had made “a million or more which went on proceeds which were not very helpful”, the judge said.

Devon’s mother said afterwards she was disappointed with the judge’s decision and said, while they would try to pay the money, she did not know how they would. She did not see how an agreement lasting one year could stretch into ten years, she said.

The Murrays had been sued by Mr Brooks who claimed he was owed €286,000 commission from Devon’s work in eight Harry Potter films.

The Murrays denied owing that sum and counter-claimed for €98,000 which they said they had already paid him.

Mrs Murray had told the court she did not want to give out to her son about his spending on drink, girls and cars because he was their only child.

Mr Justice Moriarty said it was not disputed the agreement between the Murrays and Mr Brooks proceeded to their mutual satisfaction until there was conflict about the way Mr Murray was receiving his film fees through Mr Brooks rather than directly to him.

This was the start of a decline in their relationship which came to a head when Devon was photographed smoking on the set, when he was just 13, which led to adverse criticism including “a stern reproach” from a senior executive of film makers Warner Brothers, the judge said.

The parties were now “seriously at loggerheads” with the mother unhappy at what she saw as the superficial handling of fallout from the smoking incident by Mr Brooks. This seemed to have led to the family saying they would attend to their own arrangements with the film company and Devon also said, in his view, Mr Brooks had “taken enough money” from him, he said.

The Murrays “felt gravely let down” and believed they owed Mr Brooks nothing, the judge said.

The judge referred to well known stories from the performance arts industry of management abusing the confidence of performers but stressed this was not such a case.

He considered Mr Brooks was a caring person who had advanced Devon’s career when he became aware of his talent.

Mr Brooks’s evidence was more cogent and preferable to that of the Murrays, the judge found. The agent’s evidence was also corroborated by two other agents who gave evidence of the way the film industry worked.

The judge said there was also evidence from a forensic accountant in relation to Devon’s earnings.

While the accountant had had a difficult task compiling that evidence, the accountant’s later observations were “a little hypothetical”, the judge said. He therefore was reducing the amount sought by Mr Brooks by nine per cent, giving a figure of €260,601. The judge also awarded costs against the Murrays.