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Last Updated: Monday, 20 March 2006, 18:08 GMT
Authors wait for Da Vinci ruling
Dan Brown
Dan Brown's book is being made into a Hollywood film
A court case in which The Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown was accused of copying has ended, but the judge's verdict may not be delivered for weeks.

Mr Brown denies copying The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail by Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh for his best-seller.

Summing up his clients' case, Jonathan Rayner James QC said Mr Brown had been "unco-operative" and his evidence should be viewed with "deep suspicion".

The judge, Mr Justice Peter Smith, said he hoped to give his ruling by Easter.

Mr Baigent and Mr Leigh are suing Random House, which published both books, claiming Mr Brown copied themes from their non-fiction study.

'No recollection'

Both books explore the theory that Jesus married Mary Magdalene, that the couple had a child and that the bloodline survives.

Mr James, representing the Holy Grail authors, said Dan Brown claimed he had not read his clients' book until The Da Vinci Code was in the latter stages of production.

"He had almost no recollection of matters that related to issues of timing," Mr James told the High Court in London.

"He would struggle to recall a year, was rarely able to recall a month. His general attitude in cross-examination was unco-operative."

Author Michael Baigent
New Zealand author Michael Baigent is one of the co-claimants
Mr James said Mr Brown admitted much of the research for the novel was carried out by his wife Blythe, who did not give evidence.

"It was crucial in revealing the dependency on The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail and the extent to which she relied upon it. Perhaps that explains why she was not produced," he said.

Mr James said Mr Brown claimed his wife did not like publicity and that was why he did not want his wife involved in the court case.

The lawyer suggested she could have given evidence via video link or given a witness statement.

Mr Brown has maintained that neither he nor his wife and assistant Blythe used The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail while his best-selling book was being prepared.

He has admitted to using the work while The Da Vinci Code was being written, but said it was used as one of several sources and did not copy its central themes.

Mr Justice Peter Smith said he would give his verdict before the current court term ends on April 13.


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