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Thursday, 31 May, 2001, 17:57 GMT 18:57 UK
Archer's secretary 'created bogus diary'
Lord Archer arriving at court
Lord Archer: Described as a powerful and persuasive man
Jeffrey Archer asked his secretary to make false entries in a bogus diary for use in his 1987 libel case against the Daily Star newspaper, a court has heard.

David Water QC, prosecuting, said Angela Peppiatt found herself in an "immensely difficult position" as an employee of "a powerful and no doubt persuasive man".

The prosecution allege Lord Archer made false diary entries to cover up his whereabouts on the night the newspaper claimed he was with a prostitute.

Lord Archer, 61, a former deputy chairman of the Conservative Party, denies four charges of perverting the course of justice, two counts of perjury and one of using a forged or falsified diary.

Ted Francis
Ted Francis : Court heard extracts from taped conversation
His former friend Ted Francis, 67, of Cranleigh, Surrey, denies one count of perverting the course of justice.

The court heard how Lord Archer was being pressed by lawyers from the Star to produce his diaries for the time when they said he was with prostitute Monica Coghlan.

Lord Archer was eventually awarded 500,000 damages after suing the paper for libel.

Mr Waters told the jury how Lord Archer gave Mrs Peppiatt a new A4-size diary for 1986 some time between April and May 1987.

'Dishonest self-protection'

"He also produced a piece of paper with six entries on it," Mr Waters said.

"She recognised the writing as that of Jeffrey Archer and that view has since been confirmed by a handwriting expert," the court heard.

"She was told to copy those entries into Monday 8 September in the new blank diary produced by Jeffrey Archer," Mr Waters aid.

He told the court Mrs Peppiatt must have also made three further entries in the period up to midday on 9 September.

Mr Waters said he thought Mrs Peppiatt would accept her actions were a result of "dishonest self-protection".


We've got to be careful Ted - we don't want to go to a court of law with this

Alleged taped conversation of Lord Archer
"Dishonest because the details came not from the Economist Diary so far as the Monday, 8 September, was concerned, but from the list prepared by Jeffrey Archer," Mr Waters told the jury.

Earlier the jury had heard accounts from secretly taped telephone conversations which, Mr Waters said, revealed Lord Archer's attempts to cover up his alleged liaison with Ms Coghlan.

Lord Archer's former friend Mr Francis claimed the best-selling author asked him to provide him with an alibi for the night the paper claimed he was with Ms Coghlan, the court heard.

'20,000 offer'

The jury was told that Mr Francis said Lord Archer offered him 20,000 for his help.

But when Lord Archer stood for election for Mayor of London, Mr Francis decided to tell the News of the World newspaper about the incident, the court heard.

The paper asked Mr Francis to make phone calls to Lord Archer which were taped.

Extracts from the tapes were read out in court.

Lord Archer is alleged to have said: "We've got to be careful Ted - we don't want to go to a court of law with this," the court heard.

Election withdrawal

When Lord Archer realised the calls had been taped, he issued a press statement where he claimed the only reason he asked Mr Francis to provide him with an alibi was to protect a close female friend who he said he had been having dinner with.

Lord Archer then announced his intention to withdraw from the mayoral race saying: "I am not willing to put my family and the party through months of sustained attack."

The News of the World named the woman as Andrina Colquhoun - a former personal assistant of Lord Archer.

The court heard how Ms Colquhoun - now Waddington - had been on holiday in Greece.

The case continues.

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 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Duncan Kennedy at the Old Bailey
"Lord Archer arrived ready to hear the detailed allegations against him"
See also:

30 May 01 | UK
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