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Tuesday, 3 July, 2001, 14:32 GMT 15:32 UK
Archer 'insulted friend at party'
Ted Francis
Ted Francis denies perverting the course of justice
Television producer Ted Francis fell out with Lord Archer after the multi-millionaire insulted him at one of his champagne and shepherd's pie parties, the Old Bailey has heard.

Mr Francis said Lord Archer had approached him in front of others at the 1990 Christmas party and said: "This man owes me 20,000 and has not paid it back".

He said the remark upset him and he asked for an apology, which he later received in a letter from Lord Archer.

However, following the incident, Mr Francis said he decided their relationship "should be at arm's length".

Lord Archer
Archer: Cleared of one of seven dishonesty charges
Lord Archer denies dishonesty charges arising from his successful 1987 libel action against the Daily Star.

Mr Francis denies perverting the course of justice by providing Lord Archer with a false alibi in 1987.

The charges relate to the July 1987 libel hearing in which Lord Archer successfully sued the Daily Star for alleging he had slept with a prostitute in September 1986.

He was awarded 500,000 damages.

Earlier Mr Francis of Cranleigh, Surrey, told the court that Lord Archer had asked him for an alibi for the night he was accused of having sex with prostitute Monica Coghlan.

Mayoral candidate

He told the court he had agreed because Lord Archer had told him it was to save his marriage, as he had been having dinner with his mistress Andrina Colquhoun on the night in question.

He added that he had not known the multi-millionaire was involved in a libel case.

There was laughter in court when the judge Mr Justice Potts asked Mr Francis why his alibi would have satisfied Lady Archer.

Andrina Colquhoun
Lord Archer allegedly told Ted Francis he was Miss Colquhoun
"You do not look like Andrina," the judge said.

Mr Francis said: "My lord, I did not think of it that way until now."

Asked by David Waters QC, prosecuting, why he had never asked about the outcome of the incident, Mr Francis said: "I assumed that as they remained married, everything was okay."

Mr Francis said he had agreed to help expose Lord Archer in 1999 after he had been chosen as Tory candidate for Mayor of London.

"I did not think he was appropriate," he said.

Lord Archer denies three counts of perverting the course of justice, two counts of perjury and one of using a diary as a false instrument.

The trail has been adjourned until Thursday.

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