Rebekah Vardy ordered to pay £800,000 to Coleen Rooney following Wagatha trial
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Rebekah Vardy has been ordered to pay £800,000 to Coleen Rooney following the Wagatha Christie trial.
A court order given by the High Court today (4 October), stated that Vardy must pay the sum by 4.00pm on 15 November.
The court order states that Vardy must pay 90 percent of Rooney's legal fees, which amounted to more than £2m.
However, due to the fact that £350,000 of that had already been racked up before the trial in May, the 36-year-old's total for the trial was actually £1,667,860.
The footballers' wives were embroiled in a High Court libel battle earlier this year following a viral social media post in October 2019, in which Rooney said she had carried out a 'sting operation' and accused Vardy of leaking 'false stories' about her private life to the press.
The wife of former England star Wayne Rooney publicly claimed Vardy's account was the source behind three fake stories she had posted on her private Instagram account.
Vardy - who is married to Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy - denied leaking the stories and sued Rooney for libel, while Rooney defended the claim on the basis her post was 'substantially true'.
The reason Vardy was not ordered to pay 100 percent of Rooney's fees was due to her 'weak allegation' around Vardy being one of the people behind The Sun’s 'Secret Wag' gossip column.
Mrs Justice Steyn said: "In particular, the weak allegation that the claimant was the Secret Wag added considerably to the work by the claimant’s representatives, the concession in respect of serious harm was made late, and the (Mrs Rooney’s) public interest defence was unsuccessful.
"However, given the defendant’s success on the defence of truth which was at the heart of this claim, and the degree to which there was overlap between the issues, I consider that the appropriate reduction is 10 percent."
She must, however, also pay legal costs of several journalist she had tried to call to give evidence during the trial.
Following today's news, Paul Lunt, partner and head of litigation at law firm Brabners, who represented Rooney, said: "The High Court has today decided that Rebekah Vardy must pay Coleen Rooney’s legal costs on an indemnity basis – the highest basis that the court could order.
"The reasoning given for this decision is that there was a finding at trial that Rebekah Vardy had deliberately deleted or destroyed evidence.
"That behaviour falls outside the ordinary and reasonable conduct expected of a party in legal proceedings.
"This followed a separate finding regarding the loss of evidence that was in the possession of Rebekah Vardy’s former agent, Caroline Watt.
"Coleen’s pursuit of that evidence is a major reason why her legal costs increased substantially from the original estimates given to the court long before the start of the trial.
"Rebekah Vardy has been ordered to pay £800,000 to Coleen Rooney by November 15 as an interim payment until the final total she must pay is either agreed or decided upon by the court.
"Naturally, Rebekah will also be responsible for her own legal costs of bringing her failed libel action against Coleen."
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