Oz Media Boss Accused of Lying in Court

29 September 2005

The head of Australian television broadcaster Seven Network has been accused of "fabricating evidence" during his appearance at one of the nation's biggest ever media trials.

Kerry Stokes, who has an A$800 million ($602m; €502m; £341m) controlling share in Seven, is leading the network's attempts to prove that Rupert Murdoch's News Limited with Kerry Packer's Publishing and Broadcasting, Telstra and others, conspired to kill off its C7 pay-TV channel.

C7 folded in 2002 after it lost the rights to air several lucrative sports events two years earlier. Seven is now claiming A$1.058 billion in damages against the 22 defendants.

In a Sydney Federal Court witness box, under cross-examination by News Ltd's lawyer, Stokes denied he was lying about his ignorance of significant negotiations between Seven and cable TV operator Foxtel and its rival Austar over access to the platforms.

Seven alleges that Foxtel unreasonably refused to carry C7's channels, a core element in the network's case.

News Ltd, which owns Foxtel, claims the channels it was offered were poor quality and the price sought by C7 to broadcast them was "excessively high".

The case continues.

Data sourced from Sydney Morning Herald; additional content by WARC staff