The Phone Hacking Trial completed its twenty first week. The week began with Mr Justice Saunders explaining that Clive Goodman was still not well enough to attend and that the Court would hear Stuart Kuttner’s case next.
The defence evidence for Mark Hanna and Charlie Brooks was completed on Monday 7 April 2014 (Day 85). The rest of the week was occupied with the defence of Mr Kuttner whose evidence concluded on Friday 11 April 2014. This case was illuminated by a remarkable series of character witnesses including a former Archbishop of Canterbury (Lord Carey), former PCC director Lord Black and the campaigner Sara Payne. The case resumes on Monday 14 April 2014.
Peter Jukes’ invaluable Fothom blog has two sets of documents from the trial this week:
- Stuart Kuttner Emails to Surrey Police over Milly Dowler
- Kuttner Notes of Conversation with Goodman Just After his Arrest
Another person was arrested by Operation Elveden officers. This was arrest number 85 for the officers carrying out this investigation. There was a report in the Press Gazette.
Culture secretary Maria Miller resigned after her less than fulsome apology following an expenses investigation. She was the subject of concerted press attack which ultimately forced her out of office. There was a debate as to whether this had anything to do with her (highly ambiguous and often pro-press) role in the Leveson process – with Michael White taking the view that Leveson played a role, and Roy Greenslade taking the opposite (majority) view. We had a post on the issues facing her successor Sajid Javid.
Roy Greenslade has an interesting post entitled Ipso or the charter? Press regulation refuseniks should avoid both. He makes the sensible point that the identity of the Chair of IPSO is not going to make much difference to the way it operates but he goes on to recommend that “refusenik” newspapers should do nothing and rely on a readers’ editor or internal ombudsman.
The High Court confirmed that Section 39 orders protecting the anonymity of children involved in court proceedings end once they turn 18. The decision was noted by Media Lawyer and we had a case comment.
Rupert Murdoch has spoken of his recent personal, psychological and physical problems in an interview with Fortune Magazine, discussed on the Greenslade Blog.
It was reported in the Economist that Cambridge University Press had decided not to publish a book linking President Putin to organised crime due to “legal risk”. Padraig Reidy has a piece about this, “Cambridge University Press is afraid of the Russians”. Perhaps public spirited defamation lawyers will offer their services to the author on a conditional fee basis to allow private publication.
On 8 April 2014, in the case of Digital Rights Irelan d v Minister of Communications (C-293/12 and C-594/12 [pdf]) the European Court of Justicedeclared invalid the data retention directive (Directive 2006/24/EC). These are the set of rules obliging ISPs and telcos to retain data and information of citizens using electronic communications networks.
There has been extensive commentary on this decision on the blogs including:
- The data retention parrot, and Ten things to read about today’s data retention decision, Lex Ferenda Blog
- ISPs will Break the Law if They Continue to Retain our Data – Jim Killock and Messy Consequences for National Legislation following Annulment of EU Data Retention Directive, Innocenzo Genna, LSE Media Policy Project Blog.
- Data retention: fighting for privacy and Data Retention: taking privacy seriously, Paul Bernal’s Blog
Statements in Open Court and Apologies
On Monday 7 April 2014, there was a Statement in Open Court in the case of Myers v Royce. We have not seen a copy of the statement but will be happy to post it if it is emailed to us.
Newspapers, Journalism and regulation
There were no PCC adjudications this week. There were 6 published resolved complaints – five under clause 1 and one under clause 3.
The latest ABC circulation figures show that in the year to March 2014 there was a 7.4% drop in sales. The Sun was down 9% on the year, the Daily Mirror 6.7% and the Daily Star 10.7%. In contrast the Guardian was only down 0.3% on the year and the Times 0.5%. Roy Greenslade has a post about the figures ABCs: amid the gloom, some titles find reasons to be cheerful
In the Courts
On Monday 7 April 2014, there was a Statement in Open Court in the case of Myers v Royce.
The privacy trial in AVB v TDD concluded before Tugendhat J on 7 April 2014. Judgment was reserved.
Dingemans J will heard applications in the case of Uppal v Endemol on the same day and gave judgment on 9 April 2014 ( EWHC 1063 (QB)). We had a case comment from Alexia Bedat. The Birmingham Mail had a report on the case, “Big Brother star Deana Uppal loses libel case against fellow contestant Conor McIntyre”.
The oral application for permission to appeal in Cruddas v was heard on 8 April 2014 by Maurice Kay and Laws LJJ. Judgment was reserved.
On the same day, Laws LJ refused permission to appeal in the case of Khalil v Barakat.
On Wednesday 9 April 2014 Dingemans J heard an application in the case of O’Neill v Catalyst Housing Ltd. Judgment was reserved.
On Friday 11 April 2014 there was a meaning application in the case of Contostavlos v Mendahun before Tugendhat J. Judgment was reserved.
23-24 April 2014 “1984: Freedom and Censorship in the Media – Where Are We Now?“, University of Sunderland, London Campus, Canary Wharf.
2 May 2014,“Media Power and Plurality Conference,“, City University, London
24 and 25 May 2014 “Understanding Transition, Austerity, Communication and the Media“, University of Bucharest.
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
In the case of Rayney v Pan Macmillan Australia ( WASC 129), Edelman J in the Supreme Court of Western Australia considered wide range of issues arising out of a libel claim based on a book. The claim was brought by a former barrister who contended that a chapter of a book alleged that he murdered his wife or procured someone else to do it. He was acquitted of the murder in 2012. The application to strike out the claim was unsuccessful. There is a report about the case on ABC online.
On 7 April 2014 McCallum J handed down judgment in O’Brien v ABC ( NSWSC 4). The case arose out of programme called “Media Watch” and the plaintiff was journalist whose article was criticised in the programme. The judge refused to strike out the plaintiff’s imputations.
The notice of libel served by Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne on Opposition Leader Tim Hudak concerning alleged involvement in the destruction of documents has been made public. There was a report in the Globe and Mail.
The Supreme Court has given directions for a hearing of the appeal in the case of McKeogh v John. There was a report on the Supreme Court hearing in the Irish Times. We had a post about the original decision in May 2013.
The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN) Wednesday applied to an Abuja High Court to withdraw the N10.2 billion libel suit he filed against former House of Representatives Member, Dino Melaye.
On 13 March 2014, Gillen J rejected an application for an interim injunction by Colin Fulton (Fulton v Sunday Newspapers  NIQB 35). There is a piece on the Press Gazette by Dominic Ponsford entitled ‘UVF thug’ Colin ‘the meerkat’ Fulton loses High Court harassment claim against the Sunday World
The former office manager of disgraced ex-MP Jim Devine was awarded libel damages of £15,000 against him by the Court of Session (Kinley v Devine  CSOH 67). There were reports of the decision in the Herald and the Daily Record.
The Media Matters for America blog has a post “Libel: Will Defamation Suits Doom Three Right-Wing Media Outlets?”
The Justice Minister Wynter Kabimba has given the Daily Nation newspaper seven days to apologise for its libelous articles against him or face legal action, according to The Post Newspaper of 10 April 2014.
Research and Resources
- Online chilling effects in England and Wales, J Townend, Internet Policy Review (published by the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society)
- ‘Anyone…In Any Medium’?: The Scope of Canada’s Responsible Communication Defence , Hilary Young, University of New Brunswick, SSRN.
- Liability of Online Service Providers for Defamatory Content: The Case of Online Discussion Forums, Kelvin Kwok, (2014) 130 LQR 206, SSRN
Next week in the courts
There is a part heard committal application in the case of Small v Turner before Sir David Eady on 15 April 2014.
It is anticipated that judgment in the case of Weller v Associated Newspapers will be handed down this week by Dingemans J.
The legal term ends on Wednesday 16 April 2014.
The following reserved judgments after public hearings remain outstanding:
A v British Broadcasting Corporation, 22 and 23 January 2014 (Supreme Court)
Weller v Associated Newspapers, 24 to 27 March 2014 (Dingemans J).
NAB v Serco 4 April 2014 (Bean J).
AVB v TDD, 2-4 and 7 April 2014 (Tugendhat J)
O’Neill v Catalyst Housing Ltd 9 April 2014(Dingemans J)
Contostavlos v News Group Newspapers 11 April 2014 (Tugendhat J)
Next week is Easter Monday and we will be having a short break from Weekly Round Ups until next legal term.