On Monday 30 June 2014, Mr Justice Saunders heard mitigation on behalf the four defendants who had pleaded guilty. On the same day, the CPS announced that it would seek a re-trial of Andy Coulson and Clive Goodman on the two charges about which the jury could not agree.
On Tuesday 1 July 2014 he heard mitigation on behalf on Mr Coulson. The sentences were handed down on Friday 4 July 2014 and received rather limited media coverage. We had a post about the sentences here.
By a curious coincidence, Friday also saw the end of the “case management” regime in Tranche 2 of the Phone Hacking Litigation before Mann J in the Chancery Division. There have been 232 cases issued in Tranche 2 with 221 now having settled and more due to settle in the near future. A handful of cases remain with only one, Faria Alam v NGN, presently going to trial in October.
A new play by Richard Bean about the popular press and Phone Hacking, “Great Britain”, opened at the National Theatre on 30 June 2014. The newspapers took rather different views of this. The Independent gave it four stars as did the Guardian and the Telegraph. However, in the Times, the play received only two stars.
Sky News reported last week that the two “Plebgate” libel cases are close to being abandoned as part of a confidential settlement. These reports are unsubstantiated, based on leaks of confidential discussions, and appear to be premature.
Robin Hopkins considers Google’s recent removal of data on the Panopticon Blog, “Some results may have been removed under data protection law in Europe. Learn More”
Chris Pounder has an interesting post on his Hawktalk blog entitled “Google lost its two recent Court cases for the same reason the one-stop shop does not work”.
On July 1, 2014, the Federal Court of Justice in Germany ruled that website operators cannot be compelled to disclose a user’s personal data to third parties in the context of civil defamation proceedings. There is a post from Hunton Williams LLP on Lexology.
Statements in Open Court and Apologies
There were no statements in open court last week.
Newspapers, Journalism and regulation
The PCC again published no adjudications this week. There were three published resolved complaints: one against the Liverpool Echo under clause 5, one against the Guardian under Clause 1 and one against the Scottish Sun under clauses 1 and 5.
In the Courts
The application for an injunction in the case of OPO v MLA was heard by Bean J on 1, 2 and 3 July 2014. The application was dismissed with reasons to be given later.
On 2 and 3 July 2014 there was the trial in the case of Kadir v Channel 5 before Nicol J. Judgment was reserved.
On the same day Sir David Eady heard an application in the case of Eze Europe Ltd v Garcia. An ex tempore judgment was given.
As already mentioned on Friday 4 July 2014, Mann J heard the last CMC in Tranche 2 of the Phone Hacking Litigation.
14 July 2014, The Media (supported by ITN), “Rewriting History: Is the new era in Data Protection compatible with journalism?”, ITN, 200 Gray’s Inn Road, London WC1X 8XZ
Know of any media law events happening later this summer or in the autumn? Please let Inforrm know: email@example.com.
Media Law in Other Jurisdictions
In the case of Findlay v Grimmer (No.3)  WASC 228 Kenneth Martin J considered a strike out application in relation to multiple pleas of statutory justification and plea of bad character. The defence was struck out and an order for indemnity costs was made.
The Times of Malta reports that there are 185 libel cases pending before the law courts, the oldest of which has been awaiting sentence since 28 January 2004.
It is reported that the Moscow City Court has dismissed a libel claim which was filed by the mother of the deceased Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky against a police officer Oleg Urzhumtsev. According to the complaint, in December 2010 Urzhumtsev issued a resolution which “defamed Sergei Magnitsky by accusing him post-mortem of embezzling 5.4 billion roubles from the state budget.”
The Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal in the case of Aleong v Trinidad Express Newspapers, increasing the trial judge’s award of damages from TTD650,000 to TTD850,000 (£78,000).
It is reported that the New York Supreme Court Appellate Division has upheld a lower court decision dismissing a libel claim by Nassau County Democratic Committee Chairman Jay Jacobs against two individuals who had distributed leaflets protesting about his plan to open a children’s day camp.
Research and Resources
- Search Engines and the Automated Process: Is a Search Engine Provider ‘a Publisher’ of Defamatory Material? Susan Corbett, Victoria University of Wellington SSRN
- Anonymity in Social Media, Phoenix Law Review, Vol. 7, 2013, Laura Rogal, Jaburg & Wilk, P.C., SSRN
- Delfi as V Estonia: The Liability of Secondary Internet Publishers for Violation of Reputational Rights Under the European Convention on Human Rights The Modern Law Review, Vol. 77, Issue 4, pp. 619-629, 2014, Neville Cox, SSRN
Next week in the courts
On 7 July 2014, the Court of Appeal (Lewison, Macur and Sharp LJJ) will hear the appeal in the case of Bewry -v- Reed Elsevier UK Limited (T/A Lexisnexis). There was a Kingsley Napley case note on the first instance decision which is unreported.
The appeal in the case of Flood v Times Newspapers, is listed to be heard on 8 or 9 July 2014 by the Master of the Rolls, the President of the Queen’s Bench Division and Sharp LJ.
We are not aware of any applications in media cases before first instance judges due to be heard this week. Please let us know if you are aware of any.
The following reserved judgment in media law cases are outstanding:
SRJ v Persons Unknown 11 June 2014 (Sir David Eady)
Stocker v Stocker, heard 16 June 2014 (HHJ Parkes QC)
Tardios v Linton, heard 17 June 2014 (HHJ Parkes QC)
PNM v Times Newspapers, heard 18 June 2014 (Master of the Rolls, Jackson and Vos LJJ).
Cartius v Atlantic Mobility, heard 19 June 2014 (HHJ Parkes QC)
Garcia v Associated Newspapers, heard 20 June 2014 (Bean J)
Kadir v Channel 5, heard 2 and 3 July 2014 (Nicol J)