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EDITIONS
Tuesday, 12 December, 2000, 16:46 GMT
Lord Archer pleads not guilty
Jeffrey Archer
Lord Archer arrives at court
Lord Archer has denied at the Old Bailey that he asked a friend to lie for him during a libel case.

The millionaire author was making his first appearance at the court on charges including perjury and perverting the course of justice.

Pleading not guilty to all five charges, the former Conservative party chairman was remanded for trial on 14 May.

Ted Francis
Ted Francis was allegedly asked to lie in court by Lord Archer
Lord Archer stood in the dock at the centre of historic Number One court alongside his former friend Ted Francis, who faces a single charge of perverting the course of justice, which he denied.

Lord Archer pleaded not guilty to two charges of perjury, two of perverting the course of justice and one of using a false instrument, relating to diaries used in his libel trial against the Daily Star newspaper in 1987.

The 60-year-old allegedly asked Mr Francis, 67, a television producer, to lie for him in order to provide a false alibi for the high profile case.

Wearing spectacles and dressed in a dark navy suit, blue shirt and dark tie, Lord Archer stood motionless staring directly ahead as he was arraigned.

Bail granted

He replied not guilty to each charge as it was put to him by the court clerk.

Recorder of London Judge Michael Hyam told both men that they were granted bail, but if they failed to attend their trial without reasonable cause they faced a fine or imprisonment.

The hearing before a packed courtroom lasted 20 minutes and dealt mainly with administrative matters.

The trial is expected to last two to three weeks, but could run into a fourth.

No comment

Before proceedings started the clerk asked Lord Archer to swap places with Mr Francis as they had sat on wrong sides in dock.

Lord Archer arrived in court in a chauffeur-driven green BMW and left immediately after the hearing without comment.

His wife, Mary, 56, was not with him.

The full list of charges faced by Lord Archer, accused under the name Jeffrey Howard Archer:

  • That, on a day between the 22 December 1986 and 7 April 1987, in relation to an action commenced by Mr (as he then was) Archer against Express Newspapers Plc and Lloyd Turner who had said that Mr Archer had sexual intercourse with prostitute Monica Coughlan on 10 September 1986, he procured Edward John Francis to provide his solicitors with a version of events in relation to the evening of 9 September 1986 which he knew to be false.

  • He is also charged with perverting the course of justice between 26 March 1986 and 7 July 1987, in relation to diaries relating to September 1986, he failed to reveal the existence of his main office diary: provided Angela Peppiatt with a blank diary which he instructed her with details to write in the diary. The new diary was then handed to his solicitors for use in the court case.

  • Using a false instrument under the Forgery and Counterfeiting Act: That between 26 March 1986 and 7 July 1987, he used the A4 diary with the intention of inducing the newspaper and its editor to accept it as genuine.

  • Perjury: On 23 June 1987, made a statement under oath for use in judicial proceedings that the diary and a list of appointments were the only documents of that type which had been in his possession.

  • Perjury: On the 8 July 1987 as a sworn witness in judicial proceedings at the High Court, made a false statement that the diary was in existence before 26 October 1986.

    The full perverting the course of justice charge faced by Mr Francis, accused under the name Edward John Francis:

  • That between 22 December 1986 and 27 March 1987 he agreed to provide and later provided solicitors acting for Mr Archer, a version of events on 9 September 1986, which he knew to be false.

  • Links to more UK stories are at the foot of the page.


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