It was Rebecca Vardy….

Written by Alexander Welham | June 19, 2023

Intellectual Property

Defamation cases often capture public attention particular when they involve celebrities and even more so when those celebrities are married to prominent England international football players. Of course, we are talking about the highly publicised Wagatha Christie trial between Rebecca Vardy and Coleen Rooney. The case came to a conclusion recently, and justified the Instagram posts made by Coleen who accused Rebecca of leaking personal stories to national tabloids.

The case emerged when a series of stories from Coleen Rooney’s personal Instagram account were leaked to the tabloids. Rooney accused Vardy’s Instagram account of being the source of these leaks, in a carefully written post on her public Instagram in which she wrote at the end, it was Rebecca Vardy’s account. Whilst this post was written to try and avoid defamation, Vardy, vehemently denied the allegations sparking the legal battle between the two. The case centred on determining whether Vardy’s account was indeed the source of the leaked stories or if someone else had gained unauthorised access.

Defamation refers to the act of making false statements about an individual that harms their reputation. In most jurisdictions, defamation consists of two forms: slander (spoken) and libel (written or published). The burden of proof typically falls on the claimant, who must demonstrate that the statements made are false, damaging, and have been communicated to a third party.

Reputation plays a significant role in society, particularly for public figures like Vardy and Rooney. A person’s reputation affects their personal and professional life, making defamation cases highly contentious. Defamatory statements can lead to irreversible damage to one’s image, resulting in financial and emotional distress. Consequently, courts take such cases seriously to balance the rights of the claimant and the principles of freedom of expression.

During the Vardy v Rooney defamation trial, both parties presented evidence to support their claims. Rooney’s legal team sought to establish a connection between Vardy’s Instagram account and the leaked stories, presenting access logs and witness testimonies. Vardy’s defence team questioned the credibility of the evidence, arguing that others could have accessed her account, making it challenging to attribute sole responsibility to her. That is despite the many ways in which Rebecca and her witnesses managed to lose or lose access to, evidence, even in some cases, after the Court had already requested its disclosure.

After careful consideration, the court ruled in favour of Coleen Rooney, declaring Vardy’s Instagram account as the likely source of the leaked stories and ordered Vardy to pay damages and costs to Rooney. This ruling emphasised the importance of safeguarding one’s reputation and the consequences of breaching it.

The case shed light on the intricacies of defamation law and serves as a reminder of the legal framework governing defamation and the responsibilities associated with freedom of expression. It reinforces the significance of reputation, particularly in the lives of public figures, and the potential consequences of making false statements.

If you have any questions about defamation, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Briffa is always on hand to help. We can be reached at or on 0207 096 2779 for a free consultation.

Written by Alex Welham – Solicitor

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