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Monday, 18 November, 2002, 10:34 GMT
Crowe 'blackmail' trio to sue police
Russell Crowe
A nightclub brawl involving Crowe sparked off the case
Three men cleared of trying to blackmail actor Russell Crowe say they plan to sue the police officers who arrested them for malicious prosecution.

Philip Cropper and Malcolm Mercer, both 38, and Mark Potts, 45, were accused of trying to blackmail the Oscar-winner for payment following a nightclub brawl.

Russell Crowe and Danielle Spencer
Crowe wants to spend more time with girlfriend Danielle Spencer
They were charged with extortion after Crowe was captured on a videotape in an altercation outside a club in Australia three years ago.

The charges against Mr Potts were dropped, while Mr Cropper and Mr Mercer were cleared by a jury and awarded costs.

The three men filed statements of claim in the Supreme Court against the state of New South Wales and several police officers, alleging malicious prosecution and wrongful arrest.

Their lawyer, Greg Walsh, said each of the men was seeking unspecified damages, claiming their lives had been ruined and they had suffered "enormous financial loss".

Mr Walsh said he expected Crowe would be called to give evidence in the case, which is not likely to be heard before the end of next year.

Stress

Last week, Crowe was spoken to by police about another alleged brawl inside a central London restaurant.

According to a newspaper report, the star of Gladiator and A Beautiful Mind is taking a break from showbusiness after admitting he is suffering from stress.

Though I love all aspects of my work, the success of the last three or four years has also brought with it an undeniably massive level of stress

Russell Crowe

He is returning to his home in Australia to be with his girlfriend Danielle Spencer and his father Alex, who is about to have an operation, The Sun reported.

It published a statement from the actor stating: "Though I love all aspects of my work, the success of the last three or four years has also brought with it an undeniably massive level of stress, not only to me but to my immediate and extended family and to my friends and friendships..."

The report says New Zealand-born Crowe has also cancelled a tour of the US with his rock band, 30 Odd Foot Of Grunts.

See also:

14 Nov 02 | Showbiz
24 Jun 02 | Showbiz
04 Mar 02 | Showbiz
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