Libel case could mean court date for Arnie

By Roger Pearson

Legal moves which could put film star turned politician Arnold
Schwarzenegger in the High Court dock in London have moved forward.

One of the country’s top judges, Mr Justice David Eady, has backed
an earlier ruling that papers in a libel action brought by a British
reporter can be served on Schwarzenegger.

The ruling came in a
preliminary legal skirmish in the run-up to what could become one of
the libel actions of the decade. The case is expected to start some
time next year.

The case centres on claims that the reporter, Anna Richardson, was groped by Schwarzenegger.

She is suing his aide, Sean Walsh, a political consultant, after he issued a denial of the groping allegations.

Scharzenegger’s
lawyers had challenged the earlier decision that the papers could
legally be served in the US. Graham Atkins, of solicitors Campbell
Hooper who represent Richardson, said the decision marked a “major step
forward”.

The judge has already ruled earlier that the claim brought against Walsh by Richardson can be heard in the English courts.

The
judge also ordered that Schwarzenegger should pay indemnity costs –
costs at a higher rate than normal – and refused permission for an
appeal.

However, it is still open for Schwarzenegger’s lawyers to
apply direct to the Court of Appeal for permission to challenge the
ruling.

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