Cut finger holds up Venables hearing

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The Independent Online
Blood was spilled yesterday in the High Court battle between the England soccer coach, Terry Venables, and his former business partner in a failed pub venture.

Paul Kirby, who Mr Venables claims owes him pounds 144,359 for clearing the company's debts, stepped into the witness stand and sliced his finger on one of the box file bundles of court papers. Mr Justice Carnwath adjourned the hearing and his clerk, John Edwards, came out from the judge's room and asked: "What have you done to yourself?"

Mr Kirby, holding his left index finger, told Mr Edwards: "I have sliced it off", and was led away to be offered the hospitality of the judge's room where the injury was dressed.

Cross-examined by Jonathan Rayner-James QC, for Mr Venables, Mr Kirby was asked: "Have you ever been known by any other name."

Mr Kirby replied: "In the early days of business in the 1970s, when I started a small accommodation agency, I was also known as Paul Davidson." He claimed that when he went into business with Mr Venables, he had always believed that the soccer coach had a 50 per cent share in the company.

Mr Venables is claiming that all four partners in Transatlantic Inns had equal shares and under an indemnity agreement signed by them he should be reimbursed by Mr Kirby in full or alternatively should receive one quarter - pounds 36,000 - on the basis they were co-guarantors.

The hearing was adjourned until today.