Hacking saga … Elle Macpherson. Photo: Getty Images
LAWYERS will seek ''prime and crucial'' evidence from Elle Macpherson in a case brought by the supermodel's former Australian adviser, who claims to be a third-party victim of the British phone hacking scandal.
Mary-Ellen Field was granted an adjournment in the British High Court on Monday, enabling lawyers to apply for a deposition from Macpherson about her 2005 dismissal of the business adviser.
Ms Field lodged a claim against News Group Newspapers in March last year alleging she was dumped by the famous fashionista after British tabloids printed information they had intercepted from Macpherson's voicemail.
Macpherson's former adviser Mary-Ellen Field. Photo: Getty Images
Macpherson had blamed Field for leaking details to the press, the court was told.
Augustus Ullstein, QC, for Ms Field, said attempts to secure information from Macpherson had to date been unsuccessful, and a copy of her statement to police regarding the phone hacking matter had not been made available.
He said it was important to ''have Ms Macpherson examined because some of the most vital evidence - so far as the claimant is concerned - is what the basis was for her dismissal by Ms Macpherson.
''There is ample evidence that that was the reason for her dismissal, the allegation that she was leaking information to the press, and the person who made that allegation has not yet given evidence,'' he said. ''There is a prime and crucial source of further evidence and one of the difficulties [in securing the information] is that Ms Macpherson shuttles between here and Australia.''
News Group Newspapers has sought the matter struck out, citing a lack of evidence.
''This claim is not fanciful; it is fantasy,'' Michael Silverleaf, QC, for News Group Newspapers, told the court on Monday.
''One is very sorry for the hurt Ms Field has suffered but the problem is she suffered it at the hands of other people.''
Justice Vos said there was no substantive material supporting Ms Field's claim that private voicemail messages she left Macpherson were intercepted, leading to the publication of articles about the model in The Sun and News of the World.
''It seems to me that on the current pleading … there are some fairly persuasive grounds on which the matter should be [dismissed],'' Justice Vos said.
''[However] I'm left today harbouring a doubt that the claim, in some circumstances which are not yet available to the court, could be supported.''
Justice Vos said Macpherson had indicated through lawyers that she was prepared to offer her full co-operation to the court and granted the adjournment for a date to be fixed.
He added that Macpherson was not due back in Britain until next month.