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Rebekah Vardy has won the first round in her High Court battle with Coleen Rooney, with Mr Justice Warby siding with Vardy as he ruled today what meaning Rooney's now-famous social media post had for ordinary readers.
In last year's social media post, Rooney had claimed she had unearthed the culprit behind media leaks from her private Instagram account, writing: "It's .......... Rebekah Vardy's account."
Vardy, however, denies the accusations, and is now suing Rooney for damages for libel.
In a judgment today, Warby ruled the 'natural and ordinary' meaning of Rooney's post was that Vardy had 'frequently abused her status' as a trusted follower of Rooney's personal Instagram account, and that it 'clearly identified' Vardy as being 'guilty of the serious and consistent breach of trust that she alleges'.
Vardy's lawyers have argued the meaning of Rooney's post was that she had 'consistently and repeatedly betrayed the defendant's trust over several years by leaking the defendant's private and personal Instagram posts and stories for publication in The Sun'.
Rooney's legal team, meanwhile, have argued that the post meant 'there are reasonable grounds to suspect that the claimant was responsible for consistently passing on information about the defendant's private Instagram posts and stories to The Sun newspaper'.
However, Mr Justice Warby concluded at today's pre-trial that the meaning behind Rooney's post was that Vardy had 'regularly and frequently abused her status as a trusted follower of Ms Rooney's personal Instagram account by secretly informing The Sun newspaper of Ms Rooney's private posts and stories, thereby making public without Ms Rooney's permission a great deal of information about Ms Rooney, her friends and family which she did not want made public'.
The judge described this as 'substantially the same as the claimant's meaning'.
Saying Rooney's message was 'a considered post, using wording composed with some care', Warby added: "It would be clear to the ordinary reader from the outset that it was meant seriously, and intended to convey a message of some importance."
Rooney was ordered to pay Vardy £23,000 ($30,000) in costs.
The drama began in October 2019, when Rooney published a post on her public Instagram account, claiming she had found out who was behind leaks to the media from her private, personal social media channels.
She said: "After a long time of trying to figure out who it could be, for various reasons, I had a suspicion.
"To try and prove this, I came up with an idea. I blocked everyone from viewing my Instagram stories except ONE account. (Those on my private account must have been wondering why I haven't had stories on there for a while.)
"Over the past five months I have posted a series of false stories to see if they made their way into the Sun newspaper. And you know what, they did! The story about gender selection in Mexico, the story about returning to TV and then the latest story about the basement flooding in my new house.
"It's been tough keeping it to myself and not making any comment at all, especially when the stories have been leaked, however I had to. Now I know for certain which account / individual it's come from.
"I have saved and screenshotted all the original stories which clearly show just one person has viewed them.
"It's ................ Rebekah Vardy's account."
Featured Image Credit: PA
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