David Goodwillie fails to overturn damages decision
A footballer who agreed to set aside pounds Â£100,000 ahead of a damages action brought by a woman who claims he raped her has lost a bid to overturn the decision.
A judge was told if the order was not recalled David Goodwillie (27) faced being left without legal representation for the complex and lengthy court case.
But Lord Armstrong rejected the motion and refused to put the action on hold for a legal aid application for the professional player to be decided.
The 30-year-old woman has raised a £500,000 damages action against the former Scotland striker and another player, David Robertson, alleging that they raped her in the early hours of January 2 in 2011 at a flat in Armadale, in West Lothian. Both men deny the allegation.
The Court of Session in Edinburgh was earlier told that lawyers acting for the woman now value her claim at approximately £250,000.
At an earlier hearing Lord Woolman allowed Goodwillie, who is currently with Plymouth Argyle, to proceed with the sale of his house in Scotland on condition that pounds 100,000 be held for the legal case.
Solicitor advocate Jonathan Nisbet, for Goodwillie, told the court today that the property was sold but Goodwillie had anticipated receiving a larger sum for it than he did.
“The net effect is he has been left with £100,000. That is the full extent of his capital assets, other than his vehicle and certain personal effects,” he said.
Mr Nisbet said the difficulty for Goodwillie was that he had no money other than the £100,000 to pay for his legal representation.
“Short of securing legal aid funding it is likely, that if the order is not recalled, his agents are likely to withdraw. He is going to be left without representation,” he said.
“The costs that have been suggested are very close to the capital sum,” he told the court.
He said the former Dundee United, Blackburn Rovers, Aberdeen and Ross County player, currently makes £5000 a month net with outgoings of £3000, leaving him £2000 to support himself and his partner.
Mr Nisbet said: “I appreciate there is some prejudice for the pursuer’s position. In terms of the order of the court she is entitled to have £100,000 security for her claim.”
But he said Goodwillie had “a substantial defence” in the proceedings which may very well succeed and argued that to maintain the order in place would have a “wholly disproportionate impact on him”
The solicitor advocate argued it may raise a human rights point. He said: “Given the complexity of this case and the seriousness of the allegations made, albeit in a civil context, there is at least a possibility his convention rights may be engaged.”
“The reality is he does not have, I am advised, any money beyond this £100,000 to fund this defence,” said Mr Nisbet
He said a legal application had been made and his secondary motion was to have the case sisted to allow that to proceed.
Lord Armstrong asked Mr Nisbet if he was telling him that if he refused either branches of the motion lawyers instructed to act for the player will withdraw from acting. The solicitor advocate replied: “I believe that to be the case.”
Simon Di Rollo QC, for the woman, said that if the earlier order was recalled she would have no security for her claim if it succeeded.
He said: “I quite accept that the allegations made by the pursuer (the woman) are very serious ones. The defender (Goodwillie) has known about this for a number of years. He has been in consistent employment as a professional footballer throughout that period.”
The senior counsel said Goodwillie had been paid well for his services as a player. “What is the justification for not having any money to pay for his lawyers,” he said.
Mr Di Rollo asked why the woman should be penalised if Goodwillie had not put money aside.