Rebekah Vardy “has nothing to hide,” the Supreme Court has heard ahead of her upcoming Coleen Rooney libel 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.
At a preliminary hearing on Wednesday, Ms Rooney’s lawyer, David Sherborne, asked for the disclosure of some documents belonging to 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”.
“In order to obtain the documents needed for the fair disposal of her claim, she finds herself between a rock and a hard spot,” Mr Sherborne added.
The lawyer later claimed this included the expert downloading Ms Vardy’s data for verification, but then he had “forgotten the password he used to encrypt the material and he could not remember it”.
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However, Sara Mansoori QC, for Ms Vardy, later said there had been a “corruption issue” with the password.
Adam Wolanski QC, representing News Group Newspapers, described Ms Rooney’s disclosure offer from The Sun journalists as a “fishing expedition”.
Hugh Tomlinson QC, also for Ms Vardy, said she was “critically neutral” on the documents request.
“Rebekah Vardy has nothing to hide,” he told the court.
Ms Justice Steyn granted Ms Rooney’s request for the News Group Newspapers documents but referred only to communications between Ms Vardy, Ms Watt and The Sun journalist Andrew Halls.
The High Court in London has also heard that Ms Watt is unable to testify orally in the trial, which is due to start next month.
Ms Rooney’s lawyers previously alleged that Ms Vardy disclosed information to The Sun either directly or through Ms Watt “at her direction or with her knowing consent”.
Ms Watt was mentioned at an earlier hearing after the High Court in London heard that WhatsApp messages between Ms Vardy and Ms Watt had been disclosed.
Texts heard in court included Ms Vardy, who referred to someone whose identity is disputed as a “nasty bitch”.
In written arguments for Wednesday’s hearing, Mr Tomlinson said: “Plaintiff served testimony 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.
“In the circumstances, it is clear that Ms Watt cannot be called to testify,” he concluded.
Mr Sherborne argued Ms Watt was a “key witness” at the trial with “critical” evidence.
In written arguments, Mr Sherborne said: “Ms Watt now says she is too ill to appear in court to be questioned about the events and allegations concerning her, although she could and can give lengthy testimony about them. unless she is asked for it.
“The defendants’ position is that Ms Watt’s concerns about the evidence stem from the realization that her evidence is untrue and she is therefore afraid of being tested for it.”
The hearing before Ms Justice Steyn, due to end on Wednesday, is continuing.
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/rebekah-vardy-has-nothing-to-hide-ahead-of-libel-trial-against-coleen-rooney-41550709.html Rebekah Vardy has ‘nothing to hide’ from Coleen Rooney defamation trial