The phone hacking trial continued at the Old Bailey this week, with evidence being heard on Monday 13 January, Tuesday 14 January and Wednesday 15 January. It now seems likely that the case will not conclude until June 2014.
Peter Jukes continues with his invaluable live tweets (@peter jukes) from the trial. He is now seeking raise an additional £12,000 by crowd funding, so that he can cover the remainder of the trial.
Libel damages were awarded in a case brought by a Welsh Conservative AM Mohammad Asghar and a businessman, Abdul Rahman Mujahid, against an Urdu language newspaper, Nawaijang and two individuals following an assessment hearing. The newspaper alleged that Mr Ashgar
“had caused affray and breached the peace in a mosque and had been banned by court order from entering the mosque; that he had sought to turn different groups of Muslims against each other purely to serve his own selfish political agenda; that he is involved in financial scandals and corruption and reasonably believed to have received corrupt payments and to be involved in money laundering; and that there is a finding by Newport Magistrates Court that he is a liar”
The decision of Tugendhat J in Vidal-Hall v Google Inc ( EWHC 14 (QB)) was widely discussed in the media. There were reports on the BBC News, in the Daily Telegraph and the Financial Times and also on Out-law.com. There is a website for those wishing to join the group action.
In the United States, Courtney Love is being sued by her former lawyer for a defamatory tweet in which Ms Love said
“I was f***ing devastated when Rhonda J Holmes Esq of san diego was bought off @fairnewsspears perhaps you can get a quote,’”
There was a report about in the trial in the Daily Mail.
On December 17, 2013 the Italian Supreme Court confirmed the acquittal of three directors of Google Italy on charges of privacy violation. The executives had been convicted in the Court of Milan in 2010 on charges of privacy violation, in connection with a derogatory video picturing a teenager affected by the Down Syndrome uploaded by users on the Google Video platform, a video which Google failed to remove for about two months. The conviction had been overturned on 27 February 2013 by the Court of Appeals of Milan.
Speaking on 13 January 2014, the European Data Protection supervisor backed German efforts to rebuild momentum towards data protection reforms. His speech can be found here [pdf]. There is a report on Out-Law.com.
Libel and Privacy Trials this Term in Northern Ireland
There are four libel jury trials listed in Northern Ireland this term:
- 20 January 2014, O’Kane v Sunday Newspapers and Campbell v Sunday Newspapers, Time estimate, 4 days
- 23 January 2014, Loony v Hanna
- 10 February 2014, Patterson v Ministry of Defence, Time estimate, 10 days
- 12 February 2014, Watson v Sunday Newspapers, Time estimate, 3 days
We thank Olivia O’Kane of Carson McDowell for providing us with this list.
Statements in Open Court and Apologies
In a statement in open court in the High Court in Northern Ireland, on 13 January 2014 unionist councillor Boyd Douglas apologised to Sinn Féin Councillor Anne Brolly for defaming her in a radio interview,
Newspapers, Journalism and regulation
It is reported that the Independent is for sale again. Although, as Roy Greenslade points out its sales have fallen to alarmingly low levels (a daily circulation of 43,000 – although the i sells over 230,000) putting its future in doubt.
There were no adjudications by the Press Complaints Commission this week. There five published “resolved complaints”: Andrew Newman v Daily Mail (clause 1), Morag Powell v Scotsman (clauses 1 and 3), Bryony Hill v Mail on Sunday (clauses 1, 3 and 4), Sean McGrath v Herald (Glasgow) (clause 1) and Peter Jones v Daily Telegraph (clause 1).
In the Courts
On 13 January 2014, Nicola Davies J adjourned the application in the case of Styles v Photographer AAA and others to a CMC on 10 March 2014.
On 14 January 2014, there was a committal application in the case of EWQ v GFD before Tugendhat J.
As already mentioned, on 16 January 2014, Tugendhat J handed down judgment in the case of Vidal-Hall v Google Inc ( EWHC 14 (QB)).
On the same date Tugendhat J heard an application in the case of Mount v Hodder & Staughton. Judgment was reserved.
On 17 January 2014, Turner J heard a PTR in the case of Tse v Fung. The trial is listed for 3 days commencing on 10 February 2014.
2 February 2014: Westminster Media Forum “European media policy – preparing for the converged landscape“.
22 February 2014: “ Oxford Media Convention, IPPR” Said Business School, University of Oxford
24 February 2014: Edgehill University” Law Alumni Networking Event – Media Law Panel: The Defamation Act 2013” 5:45 pm – 8:00 pm in B001
23-24 April 2014, “1984: Freedom and Censorship in the Media – Where Are We Now?“, University of Sunderland, London Campus, Canary Wharf.
Know of any media law events happening later this summer or in the autumn? Please let Inforrm know: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Media Law in Other Jurisdictions
Australia: A police officer accused of leaking footage of an alleged police assault has had a complaint against the Queensland Police Service over an alleged breach of privacy dismissed.
St Lucia: The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court has dismissed a libel case against the St Lucia Mirror newspaper brought by the Deputy Prime Minister Philip Pierre after he failed to make an appearance.
United States: Former wrestler Hulk Hogan has lost a claim for an injunction to restrain the publication of a sex tape by the gossip website Gawker. The Florida Court of Appeals overturned an injunction granted by the first instance judge.
Research and Resources
- “Institutional Actors in New York Times v Sullivan”, Paul Horwitz, Georgia Law Review, Forthcoming. SSRN
- “2013 a big year for privacy? You ain’t seen nothing yet!”, Phil Lee, Field Fisher Waterhouse Privacy and Information Law Blog.
- “Transaction costs, privacy, and trust: The laudable goals and ultimate failure of notice and choice to respect privacy online”, Kirsten Martin, First Monday,
Next week in the courts
On 22 and 23 January 2014, the Supreme Court (Lady Hale and Lords Wilson, Reed, Hughes and Hodge) will hear the case of Secretary of State for Home Department v A. This is an appeal by the BBC from the decision of the Inner House  CSIH 43. It concerns the correct approach to the exercise of the court’s discretion to prohibit the publication of a name or other matter in connection with court proceedings under section 11 of the Contempt of Court Act 1981, and whether the court’s discretion was properly exercised in this case.
The following reserved judgments after public hearings remain outstanding:
AVB v TDD 1 November 2013, (Bean J).
Makudi v Triesman, 28 November 2013 (Laws, Tomlinson and Rafferty LJJ).
Miller v Associated Newspapers, 10 and 11 December 2013 (Maurice Kay, Moore-Bick and Lloyd-Jones LJJ)
Mount v Hodder & Staughton Limited, 16 January 2014 (Tugendhat J)