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Thursday, 14 June, 2001, 20:40 GMT 21:40 UK
Archer marriage under spotlight
Lady Archer and Lord Archer arrive at court on Thursday
Lady Archer was at court for the third time
Lord Archer's marriage has been put under the spotlight at his perjury trial.

The Old Bailey has also heard more claims that a diary was forged in his 1987 libel trial.

Mary Archer accompanied her husband to court for the third time on Thursday, but did not enter the courthouse.


Remember Mary Archer in the witness-box. Your vision of her probably will never disappear. Has she elegance? Has she fragrance?

Trial judge Mr Justice Caulfield at the 1987 libel trial
She left before the jury was told how she had been described as "fragrant" by a judge 14 years ago when her husband successfully sued a newspaper for libel.

Michael Hill QC, who had represented the Daily Star in the 1987 High Court action, told the jury that Lord Archer had been awarded 500,000 damages after the newspaper accused him of sleeping with a prostitute.

Roy Amlot QC, for Lord Archer's former friend Ted Francis, who is accused of supplying the novelist with a false alibi, quoted from the 1987 trial judge Mr Justice Caulfield.

In his summing up, the judge had told the jury: "Remember Mary Archer in the witness-box. Your vision of her probably will never disappear. Has she elegance? Has she fragrance?

Ted Francis
Ted Francis denies perverting the course of justice
"Would she have, without the strain of this trial, radiance? How would she appeal? Has she had a happy married life? Has she been able to enjoy, rather than endure, her husband Jeffrey?"

Then the judge had said: "Is he in need of cold, unloving, rubber-insulated sex in a seedy hotel round about quarter to one on a Tuesday morning after an evening at the Caprice?"

'Different diary'

Mr Hill told the Old Bailey that if he had suspected diary entries were not original during the 1987 trial, he would have been able to unravel Lord Archer's account.

He said: "It would be just like pulling wool out of a damaged sweater - you pull and pull and the sweater just unravels".

Gavin Pearce
Gavin Pearce said he had bought an old diary
Mr Hill said the diary which was claimed to be the main office diary produced in court in 1987 was not the one he was being shown at this hearing.

The Old Bailey also heard from a friend of Lord Archer's former secretary, who said he had bought an out-of-date diary on her request.

Retired advertising agent Gavin Pearce told the jury he received a call from Angela Peppiatt in January 1987, asking if he could get hold of an old Economist diary.

He said the gist of what Mrs Peppiatt said to him was "that she wanted me to buy it to distance the purchase of it from Lord Archer".

'Diary bought by a friend'

Lord Archer, 61, denies seven charges alleging dishonesty in relation to his libel action - four counts of perverting the course of justice, two of perjury and one of using a diary as a false instrument.

Angela Peppiatt
Angela Peppiatt says she was asked to make new entries in a blank diary
The prosecution alleges that Archer substituted his genuine office diary with a fake one into which he ordered secretary Mrs Peppiatt to make entries.

They say he then produced it in court to cover up his whereabouts on the night the Daily Star claimed he slept with prostitute Monica Coghlan.

Mrs Peppiatt said she kept the original diary when she left Archer's employment after the court case and handed it to police in 1999.

Ted Francis, a 67-year-old television producer from Surrey, denies perverting the course of justice by providing Lord Archer with a false alibi which was never used in court.

The case was adjourned until Friday.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Duncan Kennedy
"The court heard about the 1987 libel trial itself and the state of the Archers' marriage at that time"
Links to more UK stories are at the foot of the page.


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