Entertainment

“Only half the story can be examined” in the Wagatha trial, the court said

Coleen Rooney’s lawyer has claimed that “only half the truth” in the libel battle between her and Rebekah Vardy can be examined in the forthcoming High Court trial.

rs Rooney accused Ms Vardy of leaking “fake stories” to the media about her private life in October 2019 after she underwent months of “stab surgery”.

Former England star Wayne Rooney’s wife was nicknamed “Wagatha Christie” when she publicly claimed her fellow footballer’s wife shared fake stories she posted on her personal Instagram account with The Sun newspaper.

Ms Vardy, who is married to Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy, denies the allegations and is suing Ms Rooney for defamation.

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Coleen Rooney (left) has accused Rebekah Vardy (right) of leaking stories from her private Instagram account to The Sun (John Walton/PA).

Ms Rooney’s lawyers previously alleged Ms Vardy disclosed information to The Sun either directly or through her friend and agent Caroline Watt “at her direction or with her knowing consent”.

On Wednesday the High Court in London heard Ms Watt could not give oral evidence at next month’s trial.

In written submissions, Hugh Tomlinson QC said on behalf of Ms Vardy: “The plaintiff has served evidence from Caroline Watt with the intention of calling Ms Watt to testify orally at the trial.

“However, plaintiff’s attorneys were aware that Ms. Watt was in a fragile condition and she had expressed serious concerns about testifying.”

He added that a consultant forensic psychiatrist had prepared a report concluding that Ms Watt was unfit to testify orally at the High Court trial.

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“In the circumstances, it is clear that Ms Watt cannot be called to testify,” concluded Mr Tomlinson.

David Sherborne argued for Ms Rooney that Ms Watt was a “key witness”.

In written arguments, Mr Sherborne said: “The defendant’s position is that Ms Watt’s concerns about the testimony stem from the realization that her evidence is untrue and she is therefore afraid of being tested on it.”

On Wednesday, the lawyer told the court that Ms Watt had revoked her permission for Ms Vardy to use her testimony at the trial.

He also said Ms Watt had withdrawn a previously made waiver that would have allowed journalists from The Sun to say whether or not she was the source of any of the allegedly leaked stories.

Mr Sherborne continued: “The revocation of her waiver and her withdrawal of permission to use the testimony can have only one reason.

“That’s because she realizes it’s not true … There’s no other reason why she would revoke the source protection waiver.”

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Wednesday’s hearing took place in Court 13 of the Royal Courts of Justice in London (Aaron Chown/PA).

Mr Sherborne argued he would confine himself to interviewing The Sun journalists attending the trial about Ms Watt.

“It is the final nail in the coffin that this is a fair trial. Only half of the story can be examined,” concluded the lawyer.

Mr Tomlinson said Mr Sherborne’s complaint was “completely misunderstood”.

He added that arguments as to why Ms Watt withdrew permission to testify was “an input which he may make in due course” and that “we on this site do not know why she changed her mind”.

Mr Sherborne also requested disclosure of some documents from News Group Newspapers – the publisher of The Sun.

Mr Sherborne said this focused on communications between Ms Vardy, her agent Caroline Watt and nine journalists working for The Sun newspaper, where the two women were said to be “passing on stories or information about other parties”.

He claimed disclosure related to Ms Vardy in the litigation was struck by “a series of unfortunate events” meaning the request for information from the journalists was a “last resort”.

Mr Tomlinson said Ms Vardy was “neutral” on the request for documents, adding: “Rebekah Vardy has nothing to hide.”

He later argued that “many of the building blocks on which Mr. Sherborne relies are made of sand.”

Adam Wolanski QC, representing News Group Newspapers, described Ms Rooney’s disclosure offer from The Sun journalists as a “fishing expedition”.

Ms Justice Steyn granted Ms Rooney’s request for the News Group Newspapers documents but related only to communications between Ms Vardy and Ms Watt and journalist Andrew Halls of The Sun.

The judge, who will hear the entire trial, has reserved her judgment on other matters at a later date.

https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/only-half-the-story-can-be-investigated-in-wagatha-trial-court-told-41551553.html “Only half the story can be examined” in the Wagatha trial, the court said

Fry Electronics Team

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