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Last Updated: Friday, 10 March 2006, 18:15 GMT
Da Vinci Code challenger 'copies'
Dan Brown
Dan Brown is expected to testify in the High Court on Monday
A writer who accuses The Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown of copying has agreed at the High Court that he himself would "hijack" other people's words.

Co-author of The Holy Blood and The Holy Grail, Richard Leigh, was told in court ideas in his book were copied.

Mr Leigh and Michael Baigent, are suing Random House, which publishes both books, claiming Mr Brown's best-seller lifts from their 1982 work.

But Mr Leigh was accused of doing the same thing by the publisher's lawyer.

Similar language

Mr Leigh's book also explores a theory that Jesus did not die on the cross but survived, had children with Mary Magdelene and their offspring survive until the present.

John Baldwin QC, representing Random House, gave examples of themes in the book which had earlier been explored using similar language.

He asked the author: "That is something else you have copied from somewhere else?"

Copies of the books at the centre of the case
Random House published both books at the centre of the dispute

Mr Leigh - who sports a Zapata moustache and Elvis quiff - replied: "Not copied, repeated."

Mr Baldwin attacked an assertion from Mr Leigh that interest in The Da Vinci Code was aroused by the central theme of his book - that Jesus did not die and the Crucifixion was a fraud.

The theme does not appear in Mr Brown's book, Mr Baldwin said.

There was also no mention in The Da Vinci Code of the "mystery of Rennes-le-Chateau" .

"I suggest to you that the statement about sales and exposure being mainly due to the central theme is not only untruthful but you never really had any belief in it," Mr Baldwin said.

He then referred to several sections of The Holy Blood and The Holy Grail that were already covered in previous books, including that it was obligatory in the Jewish community for a father to find a wife for his son.

'Hijack it'

Mr Baldwin said not only the idea but the wording in HBHG of the Knights Templar being formed by the Priory of Sion as an administrative arm and their eventual bloody fate in France in the Middle Ages was in earlier works.

Mr Leigh said the facts were common historical knowledge being expressed in straightforward language and could well look the same.

He said much of the wording of HBHG was his own but there were certain turns of phrase that are in common use.

"If some phrases are not mine, it is something I liked sufficiently to hijack it," he said.

The hearing was adjourned until Monday when Mr Brown will give evidence for Random House.

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