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Street star loses bid to sue his libel lawyer.

Coronation Street star Bill Roache yesterday lost his attempt to sue top libel solicitors Peter Carter-Ruck and Partners over advice he was given when he had earlier sued The Sun.

Mr Roache would have picked up massive damages, and the newspaper would have faced massive legal costs, if the jury had awarded him more than The Sun had already paid into court at the time as an offer of settlement for a story which had branded him "boring" and said he was disliked by most other cast members.

But the jury awarded Mr Roache just pounds 50,000 - exactly the amount as The Sun had paid into court.

Just one penny more would have been enough to ensure that he did not face the huge legal bill. But as it was he had to pay his own costs, and The Sun's costs from the day the money was paid into court - an estimated total of pounds 120,000.

Mr Roache was defeated again yesterday when he lost the case against his former solicitors in which he claimed he had refused to accept The Sun's pounds 50,000 as an out-of-court settlement because of their inadequate advice.

The decision means he could now have to find another pounds 80,000 to pay the costs of his action.

Mr Roache had alleged that Peter Carter-Ruck and Partners should have warned him in detail about the risks of taking the libel action against The Sun to trial, and of rejecting the pounds 50,000 offer.

Mr Justice Newman said at the High Court in Manchester that the actor's decision to reject the money paid into court was dictated by hopes of being awarded a higher sum.

He rejected possible suggestions that Mr Roache was just being greedy. "The serious and most hurtful aspect of the libel was the allegation that he was hated by other members of the cast. The claim was untrue and wholly without foundation," the judge said.

"The newspaper had no defence to his claim for defamation and he was, without doubt, entitled to substantial damages.

"At the material time the unpredictability of the level of awards from juries was great and the likelihood of an award far in excess of that which a libel lawyer may consider to be reasonable was always a prospect.

"He took the view the pounds 50,000 was not reasonable. I have no doubt the publishers were very lucky to discharge their legal obligation to pay proper compensation in the amount of pounds 50,000."
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jul 10, 1998
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