Ferrari’s first day in court

FerrariThe court case surrounding the espionage and sabotage of Ferrari, involving McLaren s Mike Coughlan, has been adjourned for a day.

Tuesday s hearing heard the basic facts of the case although came to no conclusions. The action is against Mike Coughlan and his wife Trudy and centres around a 780 page document which Ferrari are claiming was stolen.

It has emerged that a photocopying shop tipped Ferrari off after a member of staff noticed that the documents they had been given to copy were confidential and belonged to the scarlet-clad team. Ferrari s lawyer explained, “We would not have found out about it were it not from a tip-off by the photocopying agency.”

A search was carried out at Coughlan s house; computer disks were seized and images taken of his computer in order to be analysed. Ferrari have claimed that there are inconsistencies between the time line that Coughlan had presented to them and the dates and times provided by the photocopying shop.

The case has been adjourned because Coughlan, who was present in court on Tuesday, wanted clarification over self-incrimination privileges and how they relate to the legal investigation which is currently in process in Italy against ex-Ferrari employee, Nigel Stepney.

The court also heard that Jonathan Neale, managing director of McLaren, was aware that Coughlan had the Ferrari documents in his possession however it is unclear when Neale found out about the documents whether it was before Ferrari s legal action or after. Ferrari themselves have confirmed that Neale is currently not under investigation but the team is in correspondence with him.

Ferrari s team of lawyers have asked for indemnity costs to be applied to the search order rather than the standard costs which are normally awarded at the end of a legal process. Coughlan s lawyers defended him by saying Coughlan had fully co-operated with the order however Ferrari hit back saying, “They have received what is not theirs; they have kept it; they have copied it. They have behaved disgracefully.” The judge noted that he felt Coughlan had co-operated and therefore denied Ferrari s request.

The case continues on Wednesday.