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Law and Media Round Up – 20 May 2013

Round up newsMary-Ellen Field, Elle Macpherson’s former adviser, has discontinued her phone-hacking claim against News Group Newspapers, as Media Guardian reports here and The Independent here.

Meanwhile, criminal prosecutions of New Group employees. continue.  On 14 May 2013, the CPS announced that a journalist at the Sun newspaper, a press officer at Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and his partner (not a public official) should be charged with conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office.  There was an Inforrm news item on this.

It is alleged that between 30 March 2008 and 15 July 2011 The Sun newspaper paid £17,475 to the press officer, mostly via his partner, in exchange for the unauthorised disclosure of information obtained as a result of his employment with HMRC. The full release can be found here.

In the case of Saint Paul Luxembourg SA v Luxembourg (Case No 26419/10), decided on 18 April 2013, the Fifth Section of the Court of Human Rights considered the protection of journalists against coercive court orders and held that a warrant to search a newspaper office was, in the circumstances, a violation of Article 8 and, because it was in wide terms which potentially included information about sources, it was also a violation of Article 10. Inforrm published a case comment by Hugh Tomlinson QC here.

Eoin McKeogh, who was falsely branded as a thief on YouTube, Google, Facebook and a number of websites in 2011, has secured a interlocutory injunction to permanently remove defamatory material from the internet. Judgment [PDF] was given on 16 May 2013 in the High Court in Ireland. Inforrm has a post here, with further detail and comment.

The New Yorker has launched Strongbox, an anonymous document sharing tool. It was designed by Aaron Swartz, who died in January, and Kevin Poulsen. A post explaining the tool can be found here.

Statements in Open Court and Apologies

Rached Ghannouchi, the leader of the Tunisian political party Ennahda has received an apology and substantial damages from the BBC. The broadcaster apologised in relation to an online article published in November 2012 in which “it made false claims concerning supposed links with extremist groups and threats alleged to have been made by Mr Ghannouchi to frustrate the democratic process in Tunisia“, according to a statement released by Ghannouchi’s solicitor firm Carter-Ruck [PDF].

A man has won an undisclosed out-of-court settlement from The Sun and an apology after he was wrongly identified as the child of Fred West, according to reports in the Guardian and Click Liverpool.

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Journalism and regulation

There have been a number of resolved PCC complaints but no new adjudications. Resolved cases include: Sheila Gilmore MP v The Sunday Telegraph, Clause 1, 17/05/2013; Ms Kate Fawcett v Stirling News, Clause 1, 10, 16/05/2013; Mr Graham Eggleton v Daily Echo (Bournemouth), Clause 5, 16/05/2013; Ms Honor Donnelly v Metro, Clauses 1, 3, 4, 9, 10, 16/05/2013; A man v The Sun, Clauses 1, 5, 6, 16/05/2013; A man v Daily Mail, Clauses 3, 5, 6, 16/05/2013; A man v Burton Mail, Clauses 1, 5, 6, 16/05/2013.

In Ms Carina Trimingham v The Sun, Clause 1, 16/05/2013, Chris Huhne’s partner Carina Trimingham complained about the accuracy of an article relating to Huhne’s experience in prison: she said that “there was no truth in the claims that: Mr Huhne had been summoned to breakfast over the Tannoy system; that he had been moved to a wing for vulnerable prisoners; or that other prisoners and officers had bullied him”.

The complaint was resolved the newspaper removed the item from its website and published the following correction:

In an article ‘Order Order!, the right honourable member for Wandsworth down to the office’, (13 March) we stated that a prison officer ridiculed Chris Huhne by calling him to breakfast on the tannoy system. We also reported claims by families of inmates that he had been moved to a wing for vulnerable prisoners after being bullied and badgered for money. We have been contacted by Mr Huhne and his partner Ms Carina Trimingham who say that he was not been moved or bullied and got on well with other prisoners [sic]. We are happy to set the record straight.

The BBC has apologised for a Newsnight report about military charity Help for Heroes “that gave the false impression it was responsible for shortcomings in support offered to wounded veterans“. The BBC Editorial Complaints Unit published a report here. However, the journalist who worked on the report Angus Stickler, then chief reporter of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, stands by the report. In a statement issued by the NUJ he said: “it was well sourced, based on sound evidence and thoroughly tested. It was a brave decision for those wounded soldiers and their families to take part in the report, and they had an absolute right to be heard. These are people of great courage and integrity. We had a duty to properly report their views“.

The deputy editor of the Guardian Ian Katz has been named editor of BBC Newsnight to replace Peter Rippon, who moved from the position following events around Newsnight’s Jimmy Savile investigation.

Commentary, research & resources

In the Courts

The trial in Hunt v Times Newspapers concluded this week after hearings on 13, 16 and 17 May 2013. Judgment was reserved.

On 15 May 2013 there was an application in the case of Fox v Boulter before Bean J. Judgment was reserved.

On 16 May 2013 Tugendhat J heard the widely reported trial of the preliminary issue on meaning in the case of McAlpine v Bercow. Judgment was reserved.


23-24 May 2013,Social Media, Regulation and Freedom of Expression: A comparative perspective”. A workshop organized by HKBU and Tsinghua University, Communication & Visual Arts Building, Hong Kong Baptist University. Hong Kong.

23 May 2013, British Institute of International and Comparative Law: The Right to Privacy and the Freedom of the Press: From the European to Domestic Perspectives … and Back, London.

31 May 2013, Rethinking Media and Journalism Practice, University of Winchester.

4-7 June 2013, IFJ Congress 2013, Dublin.

8 June 2013, Citizen Journalism Educational Trust (CJET) and The-Latest.Com / After Leveson, is Citizen Journalism the answer? [Book here]

10 June 2013, Caught in the web: how free are we online?, Kings Place, London.

24-25 June 2013, The Constitution of the Public Sphere: the post-Leveson Landscape (W G Hart Legal Workshop 2013), Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, London.

17 September 2013, IBC Legal’s Protecting the Media 2013, London.

26-27 September 2013, Jersey Law Via the Internet 2013, Radisson Blu Hotel, Jersey.

Know of any media law events happening in the next few months? Please let Inforrm know:

Media Law in Other Jurisdictions

Australia: The Lower Murray water authority has confirmed that it has appealed against the defamation judgment in the case of Belbin v Lower Murray Urban and Rural Water Corporation (see the Inforrm case note).

Germany: The Federal Court of Justice has ordered Google to remove defamatory entries from its “auto complete” function. There is a news report of the case in PC World.

Next week in the courts

On Monday 20 May 2013, the Court of Appeal (Master of the Rolls, Tomlinson and Ryder LJJ) will give judgment in the case of AAA v Associated Newspapers (heard 29 and 30 April 2013).

On Tuesday 21 May 2013 there will be a 2-3 day PTR in the case of Cruddas v Calvert.

On 23 May 2013 there will be an appeal against an order made by the Master in Subotic v Knezevic.

On the same day HHJ Moloney QC will continuing hearing an application in Kim v Park – part heard from 25 April 2013.

Next week in Parliament

Monday 20 May 2013, 2.30pm, Legislation. Offender Rehabilitation Bill [HL] – Second reading – Lord McNally, Main Chamber, House of Lords.

Monday 20 May 2013, 4.30pm – Second Delegated Legislation Committee. Subject: Draft Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975 (Amendment) (England and Wales) Order 2013 and the Police Act 1997 (Criminal Record Certificates: Relevant Matters) (Amendment) (England and Wales) Order 2013. Location: Committee Room 11, Palace of Westminster.

Tuesday 21 May 2013, 9.30am, Justice select committee (HoC). Subject: The work of the Crown Prosecution Service. Witness(es): Keir Starmer, QC, Director of Public Prosecutions, Crown Prosecution Service, Location: Room 15, Palace of Westminster.

Tuesday 21 May 2013, 10.30am, Culture, Media and Sport select committee (HoC). Subject: Regulation of the press. Witness(es): David Newell, Director, Newspaper Society, Adrian Jeakings, President, Newspaper Society, David Montgomery, Chairman, Local World, Christopher Thomson, Managing Director, D.C. Thomson & Company Ltd and Ashley Highfield, Chief Executive Officer, Johnston Press plc, Location: The Grimond Room, Portcullis House.

Tuesday 21 May 2013, 11:30am, Oral Questions – Justice, including Topical Questions, Main Chamber, House of Commons.

Wednesday 22 May 2013, 11am, Legislation – Intellectual Property Bill [HL] – Second reading – Viscount Younger of Leckie.

Wednesday 22 May 2013, 12pm, Short Debate – Media plurality in the light of the Leveson Report – Lord Sharkey.

From Wednesday 22 May the House of Commons and House of Lords will be in recess. The Houses will next sit on Monday 03 June 2013.


The following reserved judgments after public hearings remain outstanding:

Euromoney plc v Aviation News Ltd heard 2 May 2013 (Tugendhat J)

Fox v Boulter, heard 15 May 2013 (Bean J)

McAlpine v Bercow, heard 16 May 2013 (Tugendhat J)

Hunt v Times Newspapers, heard 29 and 30 April, 1-3, 7-10, 13, 16 and 17 May 2013 (Simon J)

Also on Inforrm last week

This week’s Round Up was compiled for Inforrm by Judith Townend, a freelance journalist and PhD researcher examining legal restraints on the media, who runs the Meeja Law blog. She is @jtownend on Twitter. Please send suggestions, tips and event listings for inclusion in future round ups to


  1. Robert

    Thanks for the link.

  2. jtownend

    No problem. Would be interested to read more about your thoughts on ‘counter speech’

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