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Thursday, 4 July, 2002, 10:07 GMT 11:07 UK
Victoria Beckham faces slander trial
Victoria Beckham
The alleged outburst was at a shopping centre
Victoria Beckham has been ordered to face a slander trial over claims she allegedly made that a shop was selling fake autographs of her husband.

Three Court of Appeal judges decided on Thursday that the owners of a shop at the Bluewater shopping centre in Kent can go ahead with a claim for damages from the heavily pregnant wife of England captain David Beckham.


Mrs Beckham will continue to defend herself against an action which she believes is without merit

Lawyers' statement
The slander allegation stems from an incident in March 2001 in which she is said to have made a "loud and rude" outburst accusing the shop's owners of selling fake autographs.

Timothy, Glynis and Anthony McManus and their company, GT's Recollections, claim they suffered a drop in sales, and a consequent financial loss, after the story reached the press.

The judges also awarded legal costs against Mrs Beckham, who is due to give birth to her second child in September.

'Wildfire' claim

James Price QC, representing GT's Recollections, told Lords Justices Waller, Clarke and Laws at a hearing last month: "What is alleged is that the defendant's manner of making these statements was rude and loud and unreasonable and such as to draw attention to what she said.

"Our case overall is that this sort of thing said by a super celebrity in a public place is like setting a wildfire."

The case went to the Appeal Court after deputy High Court Judge John Previte QC struck out parts of the claim against the former Posh Spice.

He ruled that it was not reasonably foreseeable that she believed her alleged comments would be reported in the press.

But Lord Justice Waller decided that if a defendant was aware what she said was likely to be reported there was no injustice in her being held responsible for the damage the slander caused via publication.

Early stages

Following the ruling, Mrs Beckham's lawyer released a statement saying: "Today's ruling on a point of law means nothing more than the McManuses have been permitted to continue with part of a claim that the court had previously struck out.

"It will be up to the jury to decide at trial whether it has any merit.

"The proceedings are at a very early stage and Mrs Beckham will continue to defend herself against an action which she believes is without merit. As the proceedings are continuing, she feels it is not appropriate to make any further comment."

The lawyer added that she had been ordered to pay 35,000 in interim legal costs.

See also:

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