The rock star, the stylist, and a case of missing trousers

To most high-earning and globally successful rock stars, a pair of trousers, some earrings, a Stetson hat and a sweatshirt, last worn sometime in the late 1980s, would be long since gone and forgotten. Except for Bono, frontman of U2.

The items have been the subject of a bitter legal dispute over their ownership between U2 and their former stylist Lola Cashman. Yesterday, the wrangle finally reached the Dublin Circuit Civil Court, where Bono interrupted the band's present tour for a personal appearance in the witness box.

The four articles have been held by Christie's the auctioneers in London for the past three years since the group learnt that Ms Cashman was attempting to put them up for auction. She also wrote a book, Inside the Zoo, about her time with the group, published in 2003.

The court was told that the group wanted the return of the items, all worn by Bono during the 1987 Joshua Tree tour, together with around 200 Polaroid photographs taken by Ms Cashman. She was said to have taken the items home to her apartment in London after U2's final concert of the tour in Arizona; she parted company with the band the following year after they were unable to agree a new contract.

Bono, wearing a plain black suit and white shirt, took off his trademark green-tinted sunglasses to give evidence. He said the band had taken the action with great sadness: "You may have wealth and power, but when someone is trying to push us around and blackmail us and threaten us with books, at a certain point you have to say 'Stop right there'. "

The group had been "sad and disgusted" at Ms Cashman's actions, Bono said. Her claim that the items had been gifts was ridiculous. "They sound like trivial items, they're really not. They are important items to the group and we take them seriously."

The Stetson hat in particular was more important than any of the other items because it had a kind of iconic status. "It would be like the Edge giving one of his guitars away. It is not something which will happen," he said.

He added that everyone in the wardrobe department would have known if he had given the Stetson to Ms Cashman. "And I would have been in trouble with the band as usual."

Bono, accompanied in court by the U2 drummer, Larry Mullen, and the band's manager, Paul McGuinness, said the band's memorabilia had sometimes been put up for charity auctions. Other band members, he said, felt he had auctioned too many pairs of his sunglasses.

There was laughter in court when Bono recalled the band's attempts to improve their image. "In a way it was the thing we always thought the last about, as might be obvious looking at the earlier photos."

He denied suggestions by Hugh Hartnett, representing Ms Cashman, that the action was a legal stunt designed to sidetrack defamation proceedings that Ms Cashman was taking against the band in the High Court in London. "How on earth can it be a legal stunt to protect your reputation?" said Bono.

Asked by Mr Hartnett what he meant by the iconic status of the Stetson hat, Bono said that while the word icon was more suited to religious items, the band were aiming for a certain status. "You attempt as a songwriter to place your work, not just on the road, not just in people's cars and homes but into the popular consciousness. It's what songwriters do - we want our songs to be remembered as part of an era."

When Mr Hartnett suggested there was less awareness of the band's iconic status in 1987 tour than later, Bono provoked more laughter when he said: "Oh no, we had delusions of grandeur from the very beginning."

Under cross-examination, Bono said Ms Cashman had bought trousers of different sizes for him during the tour because of his weight fluctuations. He said: "Sadly I put on weight all the time. Oscillate is a word you could use." He added: "It's not particularly embarrassing because it's likely I would fit them again, whether they were a smaller size or a larger size."

He denied being so exhilarated after the final performance he had given Ms Cashman the earrings. "To characterise it as everyone jumping up and down and giving our earrings away ... I said it's unlikely."

In her evidence, Ms Cashman the star had been "a joyous and playful mood" on that night when they came off stage. "Bono was running around... in his underpants with his hat on."She had asked for, and been given, the hat, she said, because it symbolised all her work the "amazing'' tour. Ms Cashman said she had also asked for, and had received, permission for the other items.

The court heard she was responsible for all the band's touring clothing with a budget of around £10,000.

She had been hired by Bono because of a need to change the band's image. "I spent a lot of time with Bono who was very geared up to dragging the band's image into the century," she said. The Stetson hats had been used to give the band a "quite raunchy and rough" cowboy look; she had thrown out much of their old clothing.

The case continues

News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Sport
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
football
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
life
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
life
Arts and Entertainment
Tennis player Andy Murray's mum Judy has been paired with Anton du Beke for Strictly Come Dancing. 'I'm absolutely delighted,' she said.
tvJudy Murray 'struggling' to let Anton Du Beke take control on Strictly
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
Arts and Entertainment
Worldwide ticket sales for The Lion King musical surpassed $6.2bn ($3.8bn) this summer
tvMusical is biggest grossing show or film in history
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
News
i100
Life and Style
food + drink
News
Rob Merrick's Lobby Journalists were playing Ed Balls' Labour Party MPs. The match is an annual event which takes place ahead of the opening of the party conference
newsRob Merrick insistes 'Ed will be hurting much more than me'
News
A cabin crew member photographed the devastation after one flight
news
Life and Style
Carol O'Brien, whose son Rob suffered many years of depression
healthOne mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits