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EDITIONS
Friday, 13 July, 2001, 15:19 GMT 16:19 UK
Archer jury sent home
Lord and Lady Archer
Lord Archer denies all the charges
The jury in Lord Archer's perjury trial was sent home on Friday afternoon after deliberating for only a few hours. They will resume on Monday morning.

The judge earlier told the 11 jurors they must not allow the death of Lord Archer's mother to distract them from the case against him and his former friend Ted Francis.


The Crown says it must have taken considerable bottle, if this was the bogus diary, but the Crown submit Lord Archer is a man capable of taking risks

Mr Justice Potts
Lord Archer, the former deputy chairman of the Conservative Party, declined to give evidence to the jury during the six-week trial.

He and Mr Francis are accused of dishonesty during his 1987 libel case against the Daily Star, newspaper which had claimed he had sex with prostitute Monica Coghlan.

Lord Archer, 61, who has homes in London and Cambridge, denies five charges - three of perverting the course of justice and two of perjury.

Retired television producer Mr Francis, 67, of Cranleigh, Surrey, denies one charge of perverting the course of justice by providing a false alibi.

Innocent reasons

Mr Justice Potts said the jury might consider that Lord Archer had lied in his 1999 press statement when he withdrew from the London mayoral race, in his statement about his former assistant Andrina Colquhoun, and that he had lied to Mr Francis.

But he continued: "There may be many innocent reasons why someone may lie.


There may be many innocent reasons why someone may lie

Mr Justice Potts
"If you think that there is or may be an innocent explanation for any lies that you find Lord Archer told, then take no notice of them."

The jury were told they should consider Archer's part in the libel proceedings, and in the allegations that a forged diary was used in the case.

He said the defence had claimed his former personal assistant, Angela Peppiatt, had forged the diary to cover the fact she had been faking her expenses, or that it was a second genuine office diary.

Diary argument

Mrs Peppiatt, the key prosecution witness, insisted she was acting on Archer's instructions, when he gave her a blank diary and a list of names to enter into it.

1995 file photo of Lord Archer with his mother Lola
Lord Archer with his mother Lola, who died on Wednesday
"Given Lord Archer's part as plaintiff in the libel proceedings, bearing in mind of course that he was never a diary man, could he have been fooled by a forged diary?" Mr Justice Potts said.

Summing up the evidence about the 1987 libel case, Mr Justice Potts asked them to think about Archer giving evidence at that trial.

The millionaire novelist and former politician was asked to look at his diaries in the witness box, witnesses at the current trial have told the jury.

'Considerable bottle'

"If one of them was a bogus diary, why should he expose himself in that court, in those circumstances, to detection?" asked the judge.

"The Crown says it must have taken considerable bottle, if this was the bogus diary, but the Crown submit Lord Archer is a man capable of taking risks."

After summing up the judge sent the five-woman, six-man jury out at 1234BST to begin considering their verdicts.

They were sent home for the night at 1610BST.

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 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Duncan Kennedy
reports from the Old Bailey
See also:

06 Jul 01 | UK
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