This is a Media and Information Law Update covering the last week prepared by the Legal Information Team at Matrix Chambers, which they have kindly agreed to make available to readers of Inforrm.

Latest Cases

Allen v Grimsby Telegraph [2011] EWHC 406 (QB) – 2 Mar 2011.  Coulson J struck out an application for an anonymity order by an individual who had been made the subject of a Sexual Offences Prevention Order.  There was no cause of action against the newspaper, the naming of the applicant was necessary and, in any event, the subsequent arrest of the claimant for breach of the SOPO was also be fatal to this claim.  The claim was struck out on all three grounds.  There is an Inforrm case comment and see also “Recent Developments” below.

Attorney General v Associated Newspapers Ltd & News Group Newspapers Ltd. ([2011] EWHC 418 (Admin).  Application to commit two newspapers for contempt in respect of online publication of photographs during a criminal trial. See also “Recent Developments” below.

London Borough of Hillingdon v Neary [2011] EWHC 413 (COP) – 28 Feb 2011.  The Court of Protection considered an application for permission for designated journalists from five organisations to attend Court of Protection proceedings concerning Steven Neary, a young man aged 20 with autistic spectrum disorder and severe learning disability.  The journalists were given permission to attend and to report such information about them as the court may in due course permit.  See also “Recent Developments” below.

Latest Regulatory Decisions

Latest decisions of the Scottish Information Commissioner:

Latest Decision Notices from the Information Commissioner’s Office:

Recent Developments

Turkish PM accepts substantial Telegraph libel damages. Oliver Luft. Press Gazette – 2 Mar 2011. Notes that Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Prime Minister of Turkey, has taken substantial undisclosed libel damages from The Daily Telegraph after it alleged he accepted a donation to his political party from Iran. Tugendhat J was told that Erdogan had been seriously injured in his reputation both personally and as a politician by the “false and defamatory” publication in newspaper.

Grimsby Telegraph wins High Court battle to name sex offender. Press Gazette Blog – 2 Mar 2011 .  Reports that The Grimsby Telegraph has won a High Court battle to name a convicted sex offender. The individual in question claimed it breached his human rights to publish his name in relation to an order that stops him from approaching prostitutes, entering any red light area, entering a massage parlour or carrying certain sexually-explicit material.

A father and son reunited. A secret court forced to open its doors. Andy McSmith.  The Independent – 1 Mar 2011. Reports that a judge has ruled that journalists from a small group of media organisations can have access to a hearing in the Court of Protection, which rarely allows proceedings to be reported. Newspapers are now able to identify the parties in the case, which concerns a father’s campaign to care for his autistic son. The decision by Peter Jackson J follows applications to the court by the Independent, Guardian News and Media, the BBC, the Press Association and Times Newspapers over campaigns by their respective newspapers to have access to case hearings and report the identities of those involved.

Latest decision notice on “emissions”. Robin Hopkins. Panopticon Blog – 28 Feb 2011. Mentions the imminent First Tier Tribunal decision in the GM Freeze case, which will consider how the term “emissions” is to be construed for EIR purposes.

Phone-hacking libel claim contested by Metropolitan police. Jamie Doward. The Guardian – 26 Feb 2011. Notes that the Metropolitan Police is to contest a lawsuit that could establish the true number of victims in the News of the World phone-hacking scandal. A solicitor who has acted for people suing the newspaper, contended that a senior police figure told him that as many as 6,000 phones may have been hacked, when giving evidence to the Culture, Media and Sport select committee inquiry into allegations of phone hacking. The MPS denies that the solicitor was given this figure, and the denial has prompted a libel claim that the MPS will seek to strike out in court.

Tugendhat: Reputation remains an issue in Standard libel. PA Media Lawyer. Press Gazette – 21 Feb 2011. Notes that a man suing the Evening Standard over claims he lead a criminal network involved in murder and drug trafficking has won a battle to strike out parts of the paper’s defence. David Hunt, who claims the Standard portrayed him as the leader of an East End gang, however failed in a bid to persuade Tugendhat J to strike out other elements.

Mail and Sun found guilty over gun pics contempt PA Media Lawyer, Press Gazette – 3 March 2011.  Reports that the High Court ruled that the Daily Mail and The Sun were guilty of contempt of court when their websites carried pictures on their websites of a murder trial defendant “posing with a gun”.

Articles and Discussion

New tribunal decision on disclosure of council’s compromise agreement with ex-CEO. Robin Hopkins. Panopticon Blog – 28 Feb 2011.  Discusses the decision in Gibson v IC and Craven District Council EA/2010/0095, where the Tribunal ordered disclosure of information insofar as it related to the use of public funds; the remainder could be withheld on the basis of FIO Act 2000, s 40.