Rebekah Vardy’s agent is unable to testify orally in the footballer’s wife’s upcoming defamation trial against Coleen Rooney, the High Court has been told.
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.
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”.
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”.
David Sherborne, representing Ms Rooney, previously argued Ms Watt texted Ms Vardy: “It wasn’t anyone she trusted. It was me,” as the pair discussed a leaked story complaint from Ms. Rooney.
Mr Sherborne also previously told the court that Ms Watt’s phone “regrettably” fell into the North Sea before any more information for the case could be extracted from it.
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At a hearing on Wednesday ahead of the full trial expected next month, Hugh Tomlinson QC said on behalf of Ms Vardy that Ms Watt could not testify orally.
In written submissions, Mr Tomlinson said: “The 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: “The defendant has serious concerns about the lack of any opportunity to cross-examine Ms Watt’s testimony given the genuine concerns as to her truthfulness and reliability and the centrality of her role in the impugned allegations.”
He added: “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, assuming she won’t questioned about 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.”
Ms Rooney had previously asked permission to bring an “additional lawsuit” against Ms Watt for misuse of private information and wanted her to be heard alongside the defamation case.
However, in a judgment in February, Ms Justice Steyn rejected her offer, noting that it was made too late and that previous opportunities to make the claim had not been taken.
Wednesday’s hearing is also expected to address questions of expert evidence and what information journalists from The Sun should give the court.
The hearing before Ms Justice Steyn continues.
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/rebekah-vardys-agent-not-fit-to-give-oral-evidence-court-told-41549930.html Rebekah Vardy’s agent “unfit to make oral statements,” the court said