Singer Sinead O'Connor may represent herself in actions brought against her by her former manager Fachtna O'Ceallaigh and his company over alleged defamation and breach of contract, the High Court has heard.
Ms O'Connor denies the claims. When the proceedings were mentioned before Mr Justice Séamus Noonan on Monday, he was told the singer no longer wished to be represented in the proceedings by her current lawyers.
John Gordon SC, for Mr O’Ceallaigh and his company TAL Management, said this was the third time the singer had “fired” the lawyers she had engaged to defend the proceedings.
Counsel said his clients had brought a pretrial motion seeking to have the separate defamation and breach of contract cases heard by the same judge, having foregone the option of having the case heard before a jury. Mr O’Ceallaigh and his company wanted the case heard as soon as possible, he said.
Counsel said Ms O’Connor was “manipulating the system”. The proceedings were commenced in 2012 and it had taken his clients two and a half years to get 50 documents discovered to them by Ms O’Connor, he said. Counsel said the singer had also sent his client and his solicitor “several abusive emails”. In one of the emails, Ms O’Connor said she was going to represent herself in the proceedings, he said.
David Quinn BL, instructed by Matheson solicitors, said Ms O'Connor had informed them she no longer wanted them to represent her in the action and they would be bringing a motion to come off record for her.
Hearing to go ahead
The judge noted the situation and adjourned the matter to October for case management. He said the hearing of pretrial issues in the cases would go ahead on that date, irrespective of whether the singer had “no solicitor or a new solicitor” to represent her.
Neither Ms O’Connor nor Mr O’Ceallaigh were in court on Monday.
In their proceedings against the singer, Mr Ceallaigh and TAL Management Limited claim the firm provided managerial services to the singer for several years for an agreed monthly fee plus commission and expenses.
He claims the company was substituted for him in 2011 under a new agreement. While that was not executed, it is claimed the parties performed the terms of the new agreement. He claims, without warning, the singer terminated the agreement in April 2012.
It is claimed she was not entitled to do that and he seeks upwards of €500,000 damages for breach of contract, as well as a declaration the management agreement was not validly terminated.
Mr O’Ceallaigh, Lansdowne Park, Ballsbridge, Dublin, also claims he was defamed by the singer in an open letter published on her website, and on a fans website in 2012, in reply to a newspaper article that referred to the ending of their commercial relationship.
The claims are denied. The singer denies she ever had an agreement with TAL or Mr O’Ceallaigh as alleged or that he and the company are entitled to damages. She also denies defaming him.