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Jani Allan bites back at 'ferret'

JANI ALLAN, who lost her libel action against Channel 4 Television in spectacular fashion, believes that her courtroom torturer, George Carman QC, has a certain animal quality.

However, it is not the animal magnetism of Eugene Terre-Blanche, the South African neo-Nazi, whose voice she once wrote 'has the loamy texture of a newly ploughed mealie (maize) field'.

Mr Carman, counsel for Channel 4, who cross-examined her at length in the High Court last month, is described by Miss Allan as 'a small bewigged ferret' in today's issue of the Spectator.

The article leaves no doubt that Miss Allan, who sued Channel 4 over a programme she claimed had alleged she had an affair with Mr Terre-Blanche, is unlikely to be inviting Mr Carman for tea at her home in Surrey.

The South African journalist writes: 'It is said that Carman practises in front of a mirror before a case; a ham that can't be cured. One has serious doubts whether he could ad lib breaking wind after a bowl of baked beans.'

The scars left by Miss Allan's three and a half days in the witness box, and the pounds 300,000 costs for which she is now liable as a result of Mr Carman's labours, are visible throughout. She continues: 'When he attempted to bully me with the charge of being a racist, I realised that he is not a particularly sophisticated political animal. He earns his money by the sweat of his brow-beating.'

A spokesman for Mr Carman said yesterday: 'He has obviously seen the article but he is not making any comment at all.' He declined to speculate on whether a writ for libel might be issued.