Wagatha Christie trial: what are the legal costs of case?

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The Wagatha Christie defamation trial between Rebekah Vardy and Coleen Rooney could result in huge legal costs for both sides

The defamation battle between Rebekah Vardy and Coleen Rooney has begun – and the high-profile case has cost both women hundreds of thousands of pounds so far.

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In a viral social media post in October 2019, Ms Rooney, 36, said she had had “stabbing surgery” and accused Ms Vardy, 40, of leaking “false stories” to the press about her personal life.

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Ms Vardy, who is married to Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy, denies leaking stories to the media and is suing her fellow footballer’s wife for defamation, while Ms Rooney defends claims that her post is “essentially true.” ” may be.

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The civil case is now underway and the legal fees the couple incurs in the case could end up exceeding the cost of any damages.

But how much could they end up paying out, what is the point and what has been said so far? Here’s what you need to know.

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The Wagatha Christie defamation case has begun. Left Coleen Rooney and right Rebekah Vardy.

What is the case?

In a viral social media post in October 2019, Ms Rooney, 36, said she had had “stabbing surgery” and accused Ms Vardy, 40, of leaking “false stories” to the press about her personal life.

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The wife of former England star Wayne Rooney was dubbed “Wagatha Christie” when she publicly claimed one account behind three fake stories she posted on her personal Instagram account with The Sun newspaper was Mrs Vardy’s.

Ms Vardy, who is married to Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy, denies leaking stories to the media and is suing her fellow footballer’s wife for defamation, while Ms Rooney defends claims that her post is “essentially true.” ” may be.

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Both women arrived on Tuesday for the first day of a seven-day trial at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, attended by Ms Vardy flanked by security guards, while Ms Rooney arrived with her husband, also 36, who also played for Everton and Manchester United and now manages Derby County.

How high can the legal fees be?

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The court heard both women have so far spent “hundreds of thousands of pounds” on the case.

And the total cost of the case is expected to be at least £2million.

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The fake stories Ms Rooney placed on her Instagram during the sting operation showed her trip to Mexico for a “gender screening” trial, her intention to return to television and the basement flooding at her home.

It is expected that both Mr and Mrs Rooney, as well as Mr Rooney’s cousin and Mrs Rooney’s brother, will provide evidence.

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Wayne and Coleen Rooney leave the Royal Courts Of Justice in London as the high profile libel battle between Rebekah Vardy and Coleen Rooney goes to trial.

Who has provided evidence so far?

When Ms Vardy took the witness stand just before 4pm on Tuesday, she repeatedly denied leaking information to newspapers, telling the court: “I’ve been called a leaker and that’s not nice.”

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Mr Rooney’s lawyer David Sherborne claimed there were “only two real suspects” in the leak of Coleen Rooney’s private information, Rebekah Vardy and her agent Caroline Watt. He said there were some “hopeless, speculative theories” that a hacker was involved, but the lawyer dismissed these as “wild speculation” with no evidence to support them.

Mr Sherborne added: “It comes back to the two suspects, Caroline Watt and Ms Vardy herself. We say they were both there together.”

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When asked, Rebekah Vardy confirmed that she did not tell Coleen Rooney that her agent, Caroline Watt, had access to her private Instagram account.

Mr Sherborne asked her: “You agree that it would be wrong for Ms Watt to look at people’s private Instagram accounts through the account you gave her, right?”

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“Yes,” Ms Vardy replied, later adding, “I didn’t know that was happening.”

Earlier on Tuesday, Ms Vardy’s solicitor Hugh Tomlinson QC said she had to bring the defamation action to “justify her reputation”.

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He said in written submissions: “The allegation in the Post was and remains false: Ms Vardy had not disclosed any information about Ms Rooney or her friends and family to The Sun newspaper from her private Instagram account.

“Ms. Rooney did not have the ‘irrefutable’ evidence she claimed to have: her so-called ‘due diligence’ was nothing of the sort.

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“If anyone leaked information from Mrs. Rooney’s private Instagram, it was not with Mrs. Vardy’s knowledge or consent.”

The lawyer also said that Ms Rooney’s alleged investigation into the leaks “was in fact a pre-arranged blinker operation aimed at ‘outing’ Ms Vardy”.

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Rebekah Vardy.

What did Mrs. Rooney’s lawyer say?

Summarizing Ms Rooney’s case, Mr Sherborne said it was “a detective story”.

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“Like any good crime novel, you never find a person standing over the corpse with a smoking gun,” he said, arguing there were “conclusions.”

He told Ms Justice Steyn: “You don’t have to be absolutely convinced, you just have to conclude that Ms Vardy was most likely responsible either directly or through Ms (Caroline – Ms Vardy’s friend and agent). Watt.”

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David Sherborne described what he described as a series of “highly improbable events” that influenced the disclosure of evidence in the case of Rebekah Vardy and those around her.

These included Caroline Watt’s “poor unfortunate phone” which plunged into the North Sea “within days” after the court ordered that although she was not a party to the proceedings, it should be searched for disclosure.

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“What dreadful luck,” said Mr. Sherborne.

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