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Coleen Rooney Libel Trial: Rebekah Vardy wins first round of combat


Why is today's decision important in this case?

Today's ruling in the High Court was based on the text of the last sentence of Coleen Rooney's infamous Instagram post accusing Rebekah Vardy of giving "false stories" about her personal life to the media.

She wrote, “I saved all of the original stories and took screenshots that clearly show that only one person viewed them. It's ……………. Rebekah Vardy's account. & # 39;

Ms. Rooney claimed she was referring only to Ms. Vardy's Instagram account and not Ms. Vardy herself.

However, the judge said an ordinary reader would not use the word "bill" to "indicate that Ms. Rooney continues to have doubts about who the culprit was".

Today the judge made an important decision according to which Ms. Vardy was clearly classified as "guilty of the serious and consequent breach of trust" on the post.

He also contradicted Ms. Rooney's claim that the use of multiple ellipses on the last line diluted the meaning.

This means the court has no doubt about who the charges have been brought against – Ms. Vardy – which will be a consideration when the libel case goes to trial next year.

Rebekah Vardy won the first round of her high court libel battle against Coleen Rooney today after she was accused of sharing stories about Ms. Rooney's personal life with the media.

Ms. Rooney, 34, accused Ms. Vardy, 38, of telling the press "false stories" about her personal life last October after performing months of "stabbing surgery" called "Wagatha Christie".

Former England star Wayne Rooney's wife alleged that her football colleague's wife, Ms. Vardy, shared fake stories with The Sun newspaper that she posted on her personal Instagram account.

Today the court ruled that the agency "clearly identified Ms. Vardy as" guilty of the grave and persistent breach of trust "- but minutes later, Ms. Rooney hit back with a statement through her spokesman, saying she was" excited "to hear Mrs. Vardy has to say in court.

Ms. Rooney notoriously wrote on Instagram and Twitter, “I saved all the original stories and took screenshots that clearly showed that only one person viewed them. It's ……………. Rebekah Vardy's account. & # 39;

Mrs Vardy, who is married to Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy, denies the allegations and is suing Ms. Rooney for defamation damages in the London High Court.

This afternoon, the spokesman for Ms. Rooney told MailOnline: “Today's decision on the technical and legal significance of the item does not change anything. Coleen's defense against this misguided lawsuit was filed last month.

It clearly states the facts of their case, which remain the same regardless of a decision on the meaning. The main subjects of the case remain the three stories from Coleen's private Instagram account published by The Sun and Rebekah's relationship with the newspaper, including the "Secret Wag" column.

Coleen is pleased that the judge has ordered Rebekah to swear her answer to the defense by December 8th. After three years of stress and apprehension about the leaks in her personal social media account, Coleen is eager to make progress on the real issues, starting with what Rebekah has to say to the court. & # 39;

Rebekah Vardy arrives today for a training session for Dancing On Ice 2021 at the National Ice Center in Nottingham

Coleen Rooney (left, on Tuesday at Alderley Edge) and Rebekah Vardy (right, at the National Ice Center in Nottingham for a Dancing On Ice 2021 training session today) are embroiled in a fight at London's High Court

Rebekah Vardy (top) and Coleen Rooney watch England versus Wales during Euro 2016 at Stade Bollaert-Delelis in Lens, France

Rebekah Vardy (top) and Coleen Rooney watch England versus Wales during Euro 2016 at Stade Bollaert-Delelis in Lens, France

In today's judgment, Justice Warby ruled that the “natural and common” meaning of Ms. Rooney's posts was that Ms. Vardy “had regularly and frequently abused her status as a trusted follower of Ms. Rooney's personal Instagram account by reading the newspaper Secretly informed The Sun about Ms. Rooney's private posts and stories.

In announcing his decision, the judge stated that the meaning he had set was "essentially the same as the meaning of the applicant".

What are wags? Wives and girlfriends, M & # 39; invited …

By Arthur Martin for the Daily Mail

It's a term that has been in use for more than a decade.

Still, Rebekah Vardy's attorney found it necessary to explain to the High Court yesterday what a wag was.

Hugh Tomlinson QC said it referred to the wives and girlfriends of well-known footballers and was a term first coined during the 2006 World Cup in Germany as player partners were photographed in bars and nightclubs in Baden-Baden, where England team was founded .

He went on to explain that Coleen Rooney had been named Wagatha Christie by the newspapers for "finding the play's real villain".

There has also been debate over whether it is "widely known" for celebrities and other media personalities to let others manage their social media accounts.

Ms. Rooney's attorney David Sherborne said it was known to social media users – but perhaps not to lawyers and judges of an older generation.

In its ruling, Justice Warby said Ms. Rooney's message was “a considered post using some carefully drafted language,” adding, “The ordinary reader knew from the start that it was serious and conveying a message should be of some concern. & # 39;

The judge disagreed with Ms. Rooney's claim that the use of multiple ellipses in the post's infamous last line – "It's ……………. Rebekah Vardy's report" – the Meaning watered down.

He wrote: “Indeed, it seems to me that the element of tension introduced by the multiple points is meant to arouse expectations of a dramatic revelation.

& # 39; It tends to emphasize the importance of the name that is then provided. It would be a poor resolution just saying that the named person should be suspected of wrongdoing, but it could be someone else. & # 39;

He also denied Ms. Rooney's claim that she was referring only to Ms. Vardy's Instagram account and not Ms. Vardy herself.

The judge ruled, “The reader is immediately told that the message is about bad behavior by“ someone I trust. ”The post then takes the form of a“ Whodunnit ”.

He added, "I certainly do not think the ordinary reader would use that single word (account), if repeated, to indicate that Ms. Rooney continues to have doubts about who the culprit was."

He later said, “There is nothing in these words other than the word 'account' that suggests that the conduct Ms. Rooney is complaining about may have been carried out by someone other than the Account Owner, Ms. Vardy. & # 39;

Justice Warby also ordered Ms. Rooney to pay Ms. Vardy just under £ 23,000 for yesterday's hearing.

"The usual order in such legal proceedings is for the losing party to pay the costs," said Ms. Vardy's attorney Hugh Tomlinson QC.

Rebekah Vardy is married to Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy, who was pictured together at the 2017 Pride of Britain Awards

Rebekah Vardy is married to Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy, who was pictured together at the 2017 Pride of Britain Awards

Coleen Rooney is married to Derby County footballer Wayne Rooney, who was pictured at Manchester United in 2016

Coleen Rooney is married to Derby County footballer Wayne Rooney, who was pictured at Manchester United in 2016

During yesterday's clashes, Tomlinson said Ms. Rooney's positions were an "untrue and unjustified defamatory attack" that was "published and republished to millions of people."

He added, “In fact, she didn't do anything wrong. Whatever was leaking didn't come from her. & # 39;

Ms. Vardy's written complaint, filed in June, described "the very high level of public abuse and ridicule" she received after Ms. Rooney was posted.

She was in extreme hardship, injury and embarrassment, her lawyers said, and felt suicidal. The filing also detailed how Ms. Rooney's post was reported and replicated on social media.

After a tweet from Donald Trump about knowing who the new leader of the so-called Islamic State was, some users joked that it was Ms. Vardy.

Ms. Rooney wrote on Instagram and Twitter: “I saved all of the original stories and took screenshots that clearly showed that only one person viewed them. It is ……………. Rebekah Vardy's account. & # 39;

Ms. Rooney wrote on Instagram and Twitter: “I saved all of the original stories and took screenshots that clearly showed that only one person viewed them. It is ……………. Rebekah Vardy's account. & # 39;

Court artist sketch of Elizabeth Cook by (left to right) Hugh Tomlinson QC, Representative for Rebekah Vardy, Justice Warby and David Sherborne, Representative for Coleen Rooney, at the Royal Courts of Justice in central London on November 19

Court artist sketch of Elizabeth Cook by (left to right) Hugh Tomlinson QC, Representative for Rebekah Vardy, Justice Warby and David Sherborne, Representative for Coleen Rooney, at the Royal Courts of Justice in central London on November 19

While others later said she was involved in Madeleine McCann's disappearance.

Ms. Vardy's husband, Jamie, was also approached by chants during soccer games when opposition fans chanted slogans such as "Your wife is a weed" for up to five minutes.

Ms. Rooney has denied any wrongdoing and liability for abuse by third parties.

David Sherborne, who represented Ms. Rooney, argued that it was "true" that Ms. Vardy was "responsible for consistently relaying information to The Sun through the defendant's private Instagram posts and stories."

He said, "Ms. Rooney intends to defend these words as true in whatever meaning."

The court also heard that both Ms. Vardy and Ms. Rooney had agreed to "stay" until February so that "one last attempt could be made to resolve the matter without full trial."

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