BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: UK  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Thursday, 19 July, 2001, 16:00 GMT 17:00 UK
Archer jailed for perjury
Archer
Archer was found guilty on four charges at the end of a six-week trial
Millionaire novelist Lord Archer has been jailed for four years after being found guilty of perjury and perverting the course of justice.

Co-defendant Ted Francis was found not guilty of perverting the course of justice by a jury at the Old Bailey on Thursday.


Sentencing you Lord Archer gives me no pleasure at all - it has been an extremely distasteful case

Mr Justice Potts
Before sentencing him the judge Mr Justice Potts told Lord Archer: "These charges represent as serious an offence of perjury as I have had experience of and have been able to find in the books."

The jury found him guilty of lying and cheating in his 1987 libel case against the Daily Star. The verdicts were unanimous on each count.

Lord Archer, who was ordered to pay 175,000 costs within 12 months, was told by the judge he would have to serve at least half of his sentence.

No reaction

There was a shout of "yes" from the public gallery as Lord Archer's first guilty verdict was delivered by the jury foreman.

The novelist showed no reaction as he stood in the dock.

He was cleared by the jury of one count of perverting the course of justice.

Ted Francis
Ted Francis was found not guilty

Both men had denied the charges.

Lord Archer's solicitor, Tony Morton-Hooper, said outside the court that his client planned to appeal, adding that there would be no further comment from the Archer family on Thursday.

Speaking briefly after leaving court, a smiling Mr Francis waved to onlookers and the media scrum and thanked his family, friends and the News of the World newspaper.

"I am enormously relieved the whole business is over and done with," he said.

Prosecuting, David Waters QC, told the judge Mr Justice Potts the minimum cost of the Old Bailey trial would be 256,000.

Charges

Lord Archer faced dishonesty charges arising from his successful 1987 libel action, in which he won 500,000 damages from the Daily Star over allegations that he slept with a prostitute.

He was accused of asking his former friend Mr Francis, 67, to provide him with a false alibi for a night relating to the libel case and of producing fake diary entries to back up his story.

  • Lord Archer was found guilty of two charges of perjury and two of perverting the course of justice.

  • The first charge was that he perverted the course of justice by asking Ted Francis to give him a false alibi.

  • The second guilty verdict was on a charge that he perverted the course of justice by using a fake diary in the libel trial.

  • He was found to have perjured himself in an affadavit to the High Court for the libel action.

  • He was also found to have perjured himself on oath during the libel trial.

  • He was cleared of a final count of perverting the course of justice in relation to a diary used in the libel case, in which he was awarded 500,000 after the Daily Star claimed he slept with a prostitute.


    There is no precedent for a life peerage being removed. I think treason would be the only exception

    House of Lords spokesman
    A House of Lords spokesman said Archer would not lose his peerage despite his conviction.

    He told BBC News Online after the verdict: "There is no precedent for a life peerage being removed. I think treason would be the only exception."

    Lord Archer was sentenced to:

  • Two years for the first count of perverting the course of justice

  • Four years for a second similar charge

  • Three years for count five of perjury

  • Four years for count six, also of perjury.

    The sentences are to run concurrently.

    The maximum sentence for perverting the course of justice could have been life imprisonment, with perjury carrying a maximum sentence of 10 years.

    Lady Archer
    Mary Archer has stood by her husband
    Lord Archer and Mr Francis faced charges after the News of the World newspaper revealed in November 1999 that Mr Francis' story about the night in 1986 had been a fabrication.

    During the trial the millionaire author was cleared of one charge of dishonesty, on the direction of the judge.

    Lord Archer had chosen not to take the stand during the trial, which saw his former secretary Angela Peppiatt relate details of his "marital infidelities" with a former employee.

    Mr Justice Potts, presiding over his final case as a judge, told Archer he had been convicted on "clear evidence".

    He told the former Conservative Party deputy chairman: "In January 1986, you set out dishonestly to manipulate the proceedings that you had chosen to institute against the Star.

    "Sentencing you Lord Archer gives me no pleasure at all.

    "It has been an extremely distasteful case."

  •  WATCH/LISTEN
     ON THIS STORY
    The BBC's Duncan Kennedy reports
    "Lord Archer left the court in the back of a prison van, along with other common criminals"
    Daily Star Editor Peter Hill
    "Jeffrey Archer is a liar and has been a liar all his life"
    Former Tory Cabinet Minister, Jonathan Aitken
    "I feel for him"
    The BBC's David Shukman
    charts the rise and fall of the ever-controversial former MP Lord Archer


    Background

    Profiles

    Panorama coverage

    AUDIO/VIDEO

    TALKING POINT
    See also:

    19 Jul 01 | UK
    19 Jul 01 | UK
    Links to more UK stories are at the foot of the page.


    E-mail this story to a friend

    Links to more UK stories

    © BBC ^^ Back to top

    News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
    South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
    Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
    Programmes