Rooney Wins ‘Wagatha’ Libel Case Against Fellow England Football Wife Vardy

(COMBO) This combination of pictures created on July 29, 2022 shows
Rebekah Vardy (L), wife of England and Leicester City footballer Jamie Vardy, and Coleen Rooney, wife of former England footballer Wayne Rooney, outside the High Court in central London during the “Wagatha Christie” libel trial on May 12, 2022.  (Photos by Daniel LEAL / AFP)

 

 

A UK judge Friday effectively branded England footballer’s wife Rebekah Vardy a liar, rejecting her “Wagatha Christie” libel suit against Coleen Rooney following a trial that lifted the lid on celebrity skullduggery.

High Court judge Karen Steyn found that allegations made by Rooney against Vardy were “substantially true” and that Vardy was complicit in the release of damaging stories to The Sun newspaper by her agent.

Vardy’s husband Jamie plays for Leicester City, while Rooney is the wife of former Manchester United star Wayne. The 12-day trial in May laid bare tabloid double-dealing and the lives of the rich and famous.

The women’s lawyers had also represented Hollywood actor Johnny Depp and Chelsea Football Club’s former owner Roman Abramovich.

Legal costs reportedly ran to around £3 million ($3.6 million), most of which will now fall to Vardy.

Rooney said in a statement that she was “pleased” by the outcome.

But she regretted the case was brought to court “at such expense in times of hardship for so many people, when the money could have been far better spent helping others”.

There was no immediate comment from Vardy.

– Elaborate sting –
Fascination with the lives of the wives and girlfriends (WAGs) of top-flight footballers — and their very public falling-out — produced wall-to-wall coverage of the trial.

The pair’s designer outfits and Coleen’s surgical boot made front-page news, while social media split into two camps — #TeamColeen and #TeamRebekah.

Coleen, the childhood sweetheart of England’s leading goal scorer, was dubbed “Wagatha Christie” after she set up an elaborate sting to try to determine who was behind the leaks, then announced her findings publicly.

“It’s… Rebekah Vardy’s account,” she said.

Vardy vehemently denied leaking stories that Rooney only shared with selected friends on Instagram and had sought “substantial libel damages”.

But Steyn found that Vardy and her former agent Caroline Watt were “party to the disclosure”.

“It is likely that Ms Watt undertook the direct act, in relation to each post, of passing the information to a journalist at The Sun,” and that Vardy “knew of, condoned and was actively engaged in this process,” she ruled.

English libel law placed the onus on Rooney to prove that her post alleging she had traced the leaked stories to Vardy was “substantially true”.

Steyn ruled that Rooney “had succeeded in proving” that point.

– ‘Vile abuse’ –
Vardy faced lengthy cross-examination during the trial and was even questioned on an interview where she derided the penis size of her previous boyfriend, the pop singer Peter Andre.

Rooney’s lawyer accused her of being “an entirely unreliable witness”.

But her lawyer said Vardy was “entitled to an award of substantial libel damages” for serious harm to her reputation.

Summing up, Rooney’s lawyer alleged that Vardy “regularly and frequently leaked information to The Sun about a number of people… as opposed to simply Mrs Rooney”.

He accused her of being “hand in glove” with Watt, who did not testify and was unable to present a mobile phone she said she had dropped in the North Sea.

The lawyer alleged that Vardy selectively deleted phone messages ahead of the trial.

Vardy’s lawyer said his client “made mistakes” by trusting Watt, claiming she was unaware her agent was leaking stories. He said the case had been “serious and extremely upsetting” for his client.

Judge Steyn agreed that Vardy had been subjected to “vile abuse”, including when she was pregnant with her fifth child. Nothing in the libel case gave “any justification or excuse” for that, she wrote.

Wike Testifies In N7bn Libel Suit Against ThisDay Newspapers

A file photo of Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike.

 

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has appeared before a Rivers State High Court in Port Harcourt, to testify as a witness in a seven billion naira libel suit against ThisDay Newspaper.

Governor Wike had in August 2020 sued the newspaper for publishing a report captioned “With Wike, Obaseki Meets His PDP’S Waterloo; Almost” on June 23, 2020.

Other defendants in the suit are Leaders and Company Limited’s (ThisDay’s parent company) Davidson Iriekpen, Chuks Okocha and Adibe Emenyonu.

READ ALSO: Again, EFCC Quizzes Fani-Kayode In Lagos After Court Proceedings

The Governor told the court, which was presided over by Justice Adolphus Enebeli that the publication portrayed him as deceitful and an unreliable person who exerts great influence on judicial matters and over court sittings in Port Harcourt.

In his written statement on oath, Governor Wike stated that the defendants accused him of influencing the decision of the Court sitting in Port Harcourt that granted an injunction restraining Godwin Obaseki from participating in the primaries of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State in 2020 to favour his ally, Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama, who was the beneficiary of the order.

The court adjourned the matter for further hearing to 12th, 13th and 14th of January 2022.

Speaking to journalists outside the court, one of the lawyers to Governor Wike, Mark Agwu said it is important for Governor Wike to clear his name from the malicious publication.

N40m Libel Suit: Buhari Campaign Organization Is Not Known To Law, Says Court

 

 

A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory sitting at Apo division has struck out the name of the Buhari Campaign Organization from the forty million naira libel suit filed by the President against former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.

Justice Binta Mohammed held that the organization is not known to law.

The judge agreed with submissions made by counsel to Atiku, Mr. Chukwuma-Machukwu Ume, that not being a juristic person, it cannot sue or be sued.

READ ALSO: Atiku Denies Spending $30000 To Lobby US To Stop Buhari’s Inauguration

In the libel suit marked FCT/HC/CV/ 804/2019, President Buhari and his campaign organization, accused Atiku and his aide, Mr. Phrank Shaibu, of making several defamatory statement in the media, to the effect that Buhari used his position as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and head of the government, to fraudulently acquire two private companies for himself, his family members, and friends.

The plaintiffs told the court that Atiku and his aide falsely claimed that President Buhari acquired the said companies using his influence and the control he has over the head of parastatals or organisations that are connected with activities of the companies.

However, hearing in the suit suffered setbacks following the striking out of the name of BCO as a co-plaintiff as well as a motion by the plaintiff to replace the name of the campaign organization with that of Mallam Gidado Ibrahim, as the 2nd defendant

Trump Vows To Rewrite US Libel Law

US President Donald Trump
Mike Theiler / AFP

President Donald Trump on Tuesday vowed to rewrite US libel law, after an explosive book portrayed him as out of his depth in the White House.

“We are going to take a strong look at our country’s libel laws,” Trump said after a meeting of his cabinet on his first year in office and plans for the year ahead.

Trump said the laws should be changed so that “when somebody says something that is false and defamatory about someone, that person will have meaningful recourse in our courts.”

“Our current libel laws are a sham and a disgrace and do not represent American values or American fairness,” he said, renewing a long-held desire for curbs against what is written about him.

Trump’s statements — in the context of a meeting with ministers about his agenda — are likely to raise concerns about curbs on free speech.

The 71-year-old president has been infuriated by the publication of “Fire and Fury,” an incendiary tell-all book by author Michael Wolff about the inner workings of the White House.

While the book contains some glaring errors and gossipy accounts of events, much of it had already been reported by more rigorous news outlets.

Trump had tried to prevent the book from being published, instructing his lawyers to issue a cease and desist order.

He successfully campaigned for the book’s main source — former chief strategist Steve Bannon — to be forced out of his post-White House job as editor of Breitbart.

“We want fairness,” said Trump. “You can’t say things that are false, knowingly false, and be able to smile as money pours into your bank account.”

Trump has long threatened to sue people for perceived insults, but it is unclear whether he will be capable of following through on his promise.

Changing libel laws in the United States would likely need the US Supreme Court to weigh in.

Thanks to Trump’s appointment of Neil Gorsuch, the court now has a conservative majority, but may not necessarily fall in line behind the Republican president.

But his campaign could have a chilling impact nonetheless.

Since announcing his run for office, Trump has launched a sustained series of attacks on the US press, calling out unflattering coverage and encouraging supporters to attack individual journalists.

Many reporters covering the White House have received death threats and get regular hate mail from Trump supporters.

Stepping up his campaign, Trump has promised to hold “Fake News Awards” later this month.

“The Fake News Awards, those going to the most corrupt & biased of the Mainstream Media, will be presented to the losers on Wednesday, January 17th,” he recently tweeted.

That and similar attacks recently prompted the Committee to Protect Journalists to name Trump as one of five leaders “who have gone out of their way to attack the press and undermine the norms that support freedom of the media.”

AFP

Oshiomhole denies impregnating 16-year-old

The governor of Edo state, Adams Oshiomhole on Monday, denied reports that he impregnated a 16- year old girl.

Governor Oshiomhole of Edo State

A Lagos-based soft-sell Magazine – News of the People Magazine, published by Dockland Communications Limited, had last year published a story alleging that the governor was dating an under-age girl and had gotten her pregnant.

Mr Oshiomhole subsequently sued Dockland Communications Limited for libel, asking for an N250 million as damages for the publication.

At the resumed hearing of the case, with suit No B/556/2011, between Mr Oshiomhole and Dockland Communications Limited, the governor alleged that the content of the publication had maligned him.

He said that it had also caused him and his family great trauma.

The said publication on its front page and page 19 respectively, had as its titles, “Oshiomhole Sex Power Exposed: Impregnates Young Girl Six Months After Death of Wife”.

Mr Oshiomhole, in his claims, told the court presided over by Justice Efe Ikpomwonba that the said publication, among other allegations, stated that that he also bought a jeep for the girl and that he was also interfering in the decisions of authorities at the Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, because of the girl.

He claimed that the publication alleged that he used Viagra during the alleged intercourse with the girl.

He further accused the publication of reporting that he had fixed the date of his traditional marriage to the said girl to coincide with the preparations of one of his daughter’s wedding.

Mr Oshiomhole said he was demanding for damages because the publication had caused him and his children serious psychological trauma, only six months after the death of his wife.

The governor added that the publication also alleged that he had marathon sex with a female partner in Lagos who fainted under him.

The plaintiff testified that he could not have been preparing for a second marriage just six-months after his wife’s death.

The judge, thereafter, adjourned the case to June 25, for further hearing.