Chris Evans loses case against Virgin Radio

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The Independent Online

Chris Evans today lost his battle for multi-million pound damages against the radio station where he was once the star.

Mr Justice Lightman, giving his ruling at the High Court in London, said Evans had lost his claim against Virgin Radio because he had breached the terms of his contract and had not been unfairly dismisssed.

He ruled that Scottish Media Group, owners of Virgin Radio, were entitled to damages, which would be decided at a later hearing.

Evans was not present in court, but in a cryptic comment through a spokesman said: "All will come out right at last - have we such faith in the goodness of providence."

In the bitter court battle, which began on March 19 and ended on May 8, the former DJ and television presenter claimed that Virgin Radio withheld £8.6 million of his share options after terminating his breakfast show contract in a highly-publicised bust-up.

Evans, 37, was accused of bringing about his own downfall by Scottish Media Group, the company that bought out Evans's successful radio station.

SMG counter-claimed more than £20 million from Evans who made a personal fortune of £70 million when he sold Virgin Radio to SMG.

The media group said that Evans was not unfairly dismissed but breached his contract when he failed to turn up for a series of broadcasts because he was too hungover to present his show.

Evans was also accused of disobeying management orders to play selected records, refusing to take part in promotions, missing broadcasts and ignoring management.

Mr Justice Lightman had been told by Geoffrey Vos QC, representing SMG, that Evans showed an "overbearing arrogance and conceit" before he was sacked on June 28, 2001.

His split with the station came soon after his marriage to pop star Billie Piper in Las Vegas.

Evans claimed that management put him under so much stress he was too ill to work.

Callum Spreng, Virgin Radio spokesman, said that they were "delighted".

"We were always confident that the court would support our position that Chris Evans repeatedly breached the terms of his contract.

"The judge has decided that he is not entitled to any of the shares he was claiming, and dismissed his claim for damages.

"The judge has also made it clear that Virgin Radio is entitled to damages from Chris Evans, and these, along with costs, will be determined at another hearing.

"It was clear to everyone when Chris walked out on us that Virgin Radio was put in an impossible situation and had no option but to take the action we took at the time.

"We are saddened that it has taken so long, and this needless court case, for it to be established that his actions were totally unacceptable.

"It is important now that we continue to focus on what we do best - entertaining millions of people."