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The BBC's John Andrew
"He now begins a four year jail sentence for lying and perverting the course of justice"
 real 56k

Daily Star Editor Peter Hill
"Jeffrey Archer is a liar and has been a liar all his life"
 real 56k

Former associate of Lord Archer, Ted Francis
"I am enormously relieved"
 real 56k

The BBC's David Shukman
looks back at Jeffrey Archer's career
 real 56k

Thursday, 19 July, 2001, 14:36 GMT 15:36 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 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.

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 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.

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

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.

  • 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."

    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
    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.

    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."

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    See also:

    19 Jul 01 | UK
    Silent role for Lord Archer
    19 Jul 01 | UK
    The Archer tapes
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