Rebekah Vardy’s lawyer has said Coleen Rooney should pay a “substantial award of damages” to his client as the Wagatha Christie trial drew to a close.
In his written submission, Hugh Tomlinson said: “The libel was very serious and was published to a huge number of people.”
The barrister added: “The defense has concluded in an aggressive manner, including at the trial, greatly aggravating the damage caused.”
Ms Rooney’s lawyer gave his closing remarks to the High Court on Thursday, saying his client – who was not present due to going on a trip with her children – stood by her Wagatha Christie post “more than ever” at the end of the trial.
This 2019 social media post is at the heart of the trial. In it, Ms Rooney detailed a “sting” operation to try and work out how information from her private Instagram was getting into the hands of The Sun.
She blamed it on Ms Vardy’s account. Ms Vardy denies the allegations and is suing Ms Rooney for libel.
Mr Tomlinson has said that the Whatsapp exchanges between Ms Vardy and Ms Watt are “crucial” to the case, but accused Mr Sherborne of focusing on the ones which aid his case.
“One of the remarkable features of Mr Sherborne’s cross examination… was that he studiously avoided all the Whatsapp messages which suggest that neither Ms Vardy or Ms Watt are the source of the stories… where they discuss stories and say ‘i wonder who leaked that? ‘”, Mr Tomlinson said.
“He studiously avoided the messages that pointed in the opposite direction,” he added.
Mr Tomlinson is questioning why Ms Vardy would want to delete the media her Whatsapp exchange with Ms Watt, as Ms Rooney’s side has suggested. He says that the idea that she would selectively delete things was “remarkable”.
“If you want to get rid of Whatsapp messages, get rid of them all,” he said. He asked why, if Ms Vardy was deliberately deleting messages, she has disclosed “a whole series of outrageous comments” to the court.
“Ms Vardy certainly does not want to be short,” Mr Tomlinson added.
“All she wants is to be vindicated that she was not the person who leaked Ms Rooney’s private information to the Sun.”
He maintained: “This is a case about Mrs Vardy and the way that she has been treated by thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of people on social media… She has continued to receive abuse to this day, even through the trial.”
Holly Bancroft19 May 2022 14:18
Court returns and Ms Vardy’s lawyer begins closing argument
Ms Vardy’s lawyer Hugh Tomlinson QC has said that “to this day” his client “does not know what happened.”
“What we say about this case is that really in essence it really it is a very simple case”, he said as he began his closing statement. He explained that he believes the case rests on whether Ms Rooney has proved that Ms Vardy leaked information from the Instagram stories as Ms Rooney had accused her of doing.
He accused Ms Rooney’s lawyers of furthering “conspiracy theories” about the alleged deletion of evidence.
Speaking about Ms Vardy, Mr Tomlinson said: “She does not know to this day what happened, she does not know where this information came from… It is possible, as she now accepts, that the source of the leak could well be Caroline Watt.”
“Mrs Vardy has obviously made mistakes. One of the mistakes that she made.. is that she trusted someone she shouldn’t have trusted,” said Mr Tomlinson, referring to Ms Watt.
Holly Bancroft19 May 2022 14:01
Recap: Day six highlights as Wayne Rooney says he ‘asked Jamie to calm wife’ at Euros
Read the highlights from Day Six of the trial on Tuesday:
Wayne Rooney told the High Court that he had an “awkward” conversation with Jamie Vardy to get his wife to “calm down” her media activities during Euro 2016 at the request of the England manager.
The former England international said that then-England manager Roy Hogson and assistant manager Gary Neville asked him, as captain of the team, “to speak to my team mate Jamie Vardy about the fact that Becky’s media activities were causing problems and distractions” during the tournament.
Holly BancroftMay 19, 2022 1:56 p.m.
Recap: Ms Rooney’s side closing speech
David Sherborne later argued it would be “nonsensical” for Rebekah Vardy to ask her agent to leak information about footballer Riyad Mahrez not going to training if it was publicly known as she claimed.
He said. “It would be nonsensical for Mrs Vardy to (indicate) to Caroline Watt to pass on information to journalists if it was already public knowledge.”
David Sherborne alleged there were “numerous examples” of Rebekah Vardy and Caroline Watt “conspiring to, and indeed, passing private and personal information to the press about other individuals”. He claimed this showed Ms Vardy’s “propensity” and “willingness” to “leak information”.
Mr Sherborne said the “clear inference” was Ms Vardy’s “willingness to leak information about other people in the same way that she was willing to leak information about Mrs Rooney”. “The fact that this is all understood and followed by Mrs Vardy demonstrated her knowledge and complicity in a way in which no one can explain away, however silver tongued,” Mr Sherborne said.
Holly BancroftMay 19, 2022 1:45 p.m.
Coleen and Wayne Rooney miss court on final day of Wagatha Christie trial
Wayne and Coleey Rooney have missed the final day of the Wagatha Christie trial to go on a trip with their children, their lawyer has said.
But while Ms Vardy turned up for the trial, neither Ms Rooney nor her husband – who has watched every other day at the court and took the stand on Tuesday – were present.
Read the full story here:
Holly BancroftMay 19, 2022 1:34 p.m.
Caroline Watt’s withdrawal of witness evidence suggests she is leak source, says Rooney lawyer
Ms Vardy’s agent Caroline Watt’s withdrawal of her witness evidence suggests that she was the source of the leaks of Ms Rooney’s private information, Mr Sherborne has argued.
Ms Watt’s withdrawal of her waiver indicates she was the source of the leaks, Ms Rooney’s legal team also argued.
In a submission to the court, he wrote: “The only explanation for the withdrawal of her source waiver – after having initially waived it because she believed that the journalists would say that she was not the source of the stories – is that Ms Watt was the source, and realized that The Sun would not keep secret such documents showing such leaks. There was no other reason to withdraw the waiver, especially as she did not need to do this just because she was no longer giving evidence.
“Similarly, Ms Watt did not need to withdraw her witness evidence (unless it was to assist the Claimant in anticipation of her use as a scapegoat) as there had been no order she would be cross-examined”
Holly BancroftMay 19, 2022 1:10 p.m.
Short rises for lunch
Ms Rooney’s lawyer David Sherborne has concluded his closing speech and the court has risen for lunch.
After the break, Ms Vardy’s lawyer Mr Hugh Tomlinson QC will give his submissions.
Holly Bancroft19 May 2022 13:00
‘Wagatha Christie’ is ‘extraordinary’, Ms Rooney’s lawyer says
Coleen Rooney’s barrister has told the High Court the libel claim brought against her by Rebekah Vardy is “extraordinary”.
Outlining Ms Rooney’s case in a written closing statement, David Sherborne said: “In many respects this trial has been extraordinary.
“Extraordinary because of the tenacity of the claimant in backtracking on her admissions of leaks. Extraordinary because of the documentary evidence that flatly contradicts the claimant’s account, as well as the extent to which it plainly demonstrates its consistent practice of secretly leaking information to the press.
“Extraordinary because of the claimant’s failure to ever advance a positive case as to how else the information was leaked, if not via the route identified by the defendant.
“Extraordinary for the determination of the claimant to frustrate the defendant’s efforts to uncover the truth, through the destruction of critical evidence, with yet further destruction being uncovered (only through the defendant’s efforts) even in the weeks before this trial that can only have occurred from deliberate manual deletions.
“And extraordinary because of the absence of the central figure – Caroline Watt, the claimant’s close friend, agent, conduit. Hamlet without the Prince of Denmark.”
Holly Bancroft19 May 2022 12:49
Vardy’s lawyer argues Rooney should pay out ‘substantial damages’
Rebekah Vardy is seeking “substantial damages” from Coleen Rooney in her libel trial at the High Court.
In her lawyer’s closing submissions, they argue: “A substantial award of damages should be made in this case.
“The libel was very serious and was published to a huge number of people. Mrs Vardy has suffered very serious (and continuing) abuse as a result. The defense has concluded in an aggressive manner, including at the trial, greatly aggravating the damage caused.”
Earlier in their submission, they argued: “As a result of the untrue defamatory allegation in the Post Mrs Vardy has suffered very serious harm to her reputation and huge distress and upset.
“She has been subjected to entirely foreseeable public abuse and ridicule on a massive scale. As a result, she is entitled to substantial damages for libel.”
Holly Bancroft19 May 2022 12:30
Ms Vardy’s claim that she was unaware that Ms Watt was leaking Ms Rooney’s information to The Sun is “completely unsustainable”, Mr Sherborne said.
Referring to Ms Watt passing information to The Sun about Coleen’s Honda crash, Mr Sherborne said her claim was “completely unsustainable in the face of Ms Watt’s message ‘It was me’”.
“The car crash is one example where we do at least have some relevant documents,” Mr Sherborne added. He said that there was not as much documentation about the other posts and stories – such as the Mexico gender selection story on Coleen Rooney’s Instagram.
He suggested to the court that this was because key messages and media has been deleted off Ms Vardy’s phone.
Referring to a message Ms Vardy sent to Ms Watt allegedly telling her to “leak” stories about Danielle Lloyd, Mr Sherborne said: “The use of the word leak comes so easily from Ms Vardy’s mouth”.
Holly Bancroft19 May 2022 12:17