In my previous post, I discussed a temporary injunction obtained by music promoter David Kavanagh to prevent the sale of Melanie Verwoerd‘s memoir When We Dance. The book charts her Afrikaner upbringing, her marriage to the grandson of an architect of apartheid, her anti-apartheid involvement with the African National Congress, her time as South African ambassador to Ireland and as head of UNICEF Ireland, and her relationship with celebrity DJ Gerry Ryan until his unexpected death on the night of 29 April 2010.
When the matter was due to return to the High Court, Laffoy J was told that it had been settled on the basis of a statement which would be read out in court and would be inserted as an erratum slip into the books when they go on sale (see Irish Independent | Irish Times).
The statement said that Ms Verwoerd was happy to acknowledge that Mr Kavanagh was and remained a good friend of Gerry Ryan, that it was to Mr Kavanagh that Gerry turned for help shortly before his untimely death, and that Mr Kavanagh had indicated he would help in whatever way he could to alleviate the financial pressure on Gerry. The statement added: “Melanie Verwoerd does not and never has suggested that Mr Kavanagh behaved in any way inappropriately on April 29, 2010”.
I’m glad that the book is now on sale, but the interesting legal questions raised in my previous post remain unresolved. We shall have to await another case to learn the precise extent to which the high hurdles set by section 33(1) of the Defamation Act, 2009 (also here) will actually be applied even to interim and interlocutory applications such as the one made by My Kavanagh in this case. The parties to this litigation danced a stately gavotte, but I can foresee circumstances in which the application might have the character of a more frenetic quickstep, and clear judicial guidance will be necessary if decisions are not to be taken out of (dub)step with the Act.