Trial Of Lord Archer

Author:Mr Nick Atkins

Today Lord Archer was convicted at the Old Bailey on 4 counts of perverting the course of justice and perjury. The convictions relate to evidence procured for or given by Lord Archer in his famous 1987 libel action against The Star, published by Express Newspapers, and its then editor, Lloyd Turner.

Background History

Lord Archer had claimed damages for defamation over an article published in The Star in 1 November 1986, which claimed that Lord Archer had had dealings with a prostitute, Monica Coghlan. Lovells' partner, Patrick Sherrington, assisted by Nick Atkins, acted for the defendants who claimed that Jeffrey Archer had slept with Monica Coghlan in a hotel near Victoria Station on the night of 8/9 September 1986. The jury found for Lord Archer and made the highest libel award then known, £500,000.

In November 1999, Ted Francis, in conjunction with the News of the World, revealed that Lord Archer had asked him to provide a false alibi for the evening of 9 September 1986. This was not used at the 1987 libel trial. This allegation caused Lord Archer to resign as a candidate for Mayor of London. Lovells were immediately instructed by Express Newspapers to gather further evidence with a view to setting aside the 1987 libel verdict and to recover the damages and costs which it had paid, which, with interest, now totals some £2.13 million. The Lovells team also worked closely with the Metropolitan Police in preparing evidence that was relied on at trial.

The Trial

Nick Atkins, now a Lovells' partner, recounted his involvement in the 1987 case when he gave evidence at the trial. Central to the Prosecution's case were Lovells attempts in the 1987 action to secure the disclosure from Lord Archer of his diaries. This culminated in Lord Archer swearing an affidavit that all of his diaries had been disclosed. However, as the Old Bailey heard, Lord Archer's...

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