On 27 April 2015, the Court in Lisbon gave judgment in favour of Gerry and Kate McCann in their claim against former police officer, Gonçalo Amaral. We had a post about the judgment. The decision was widely reported in the media, for example by the BBC and the Guardian.
The Sunday Express reports that “Online trolls pay Madeleine McCann libel detective’s legal bills” and that Mr Amaral’s retirement home has been seized by the Court to satisfy the judgment.
On 29 April 2015, Warby J handed down judgment two libel claims brought by Rotherham Labour MPs against UKIP members arising out of allegations relating to the sexual exploitation of children in Rotherham (Barron MP v Collins MEP ( EWHC 1125 (QB)) and Barron MP v Vines ( EWHC 1161 (QB)). In the first action the judge held that the words meant, as an allegation of fact, that each of the MPS knew many of the details of the exploitation but chose not to intervene and expressed an opinion that they did this for motives of political correctness, political cowardice or political selfishness. In the second action, the claimants applied successfully for summary judgment. There was a report of the judgments in the Yorkshire Post.
In an interview in the Daily Mail last week the Conservative Culture Secretary Sajid Javid was asked whether a Conservative Government would try and force the person to abide by a Leveson approved system of press regulation. He replied
‘No, we won’t. But Labour will. It interferes with the freedom of the Press. It goes fundamentally against one of the Leveson principles, which is independent self-regulation. I think we have achieved what we set out to do. Everyone accepted the old system, the Press Complaints Commission, didn’t work. Our job is done as a government. It’s up to the Press.’
The Zelo Street blog suggested that the “Tories Abandon Press Victims”.
Data Protection and Data Privacy
The Hawktalk blog notes the publication by Statewatch of the 630 pages of the four column Data Protection General Regulation text [pdf] that lists the Commission’s original text, the European Parliament’s changes, the Council of Ministers’ version and a fourth column for the compromise.
Datonomy has its Cyber Update for the week commencing 27 April 2015.
Statements in Open Court and Apologies
There were no statements in open court this last week.
Newspapers, Journalism and regulation
It has been reported that IPSO has rejected all complaints that Katie Hopkins’ column in the Sun in which she referred to migrants as “cockroaches” was discriminatory. This was said to be on the ground that it did not refer to a specific individual.
Many commentators have noticed the different political views of the Sun in England and in Scotland. Roy Greenslade has a comment on this: “Why Rupert Murdoch’s Sun faces two ways in the general election”.
Last Week in the Courts
On 28 April 2015, there were PTRs before Mann J in the cases of Hannon v NGN and Dufour v NGN.
On the same day Warby J heard an application in the case of Shakil-ur-Rahman v ARY Network Ltd. Judgment was reserved.
On 30 April 2015, Warby J handed down judgment in the case of Decker v Hopcroft ( EWHC 1170 (QB)). A trial of preliminary issues was ordered.
On the same day Warby J heard an application in the case of BUQ v. HRE. Judgment was reserved.
The same judge also handed down a private judgment in the case of ZYT v Associated Newspapers. This hand down was listed in the Royal Courts of Justice Cause List.
On 1 May 2015 there was an application in the cases of Undre & anr v. London Borough of Harrow.
12 May 2015, IBC’s 22nd Annual Defamation and Privacy Conference, Grange City Hotel, London
Media Law in Other Jurisdictions
On 24 April 2015 the Court of Appeal in Victoria gave judgment in the case of Jeffrey and Curnow v Giles ( VSCA 70). The case concerned defamatory imputations published on the internet. The judge awarded the first plaintiff Aus$12,000 and the second Aus$8,000 ( VSC 268). The appeal against the quantum of damages was allowed and the awards were increased to Aus$75,000 to the first plaintiff and Aus$65,000 to the second.
The Guardian reports that the former Queensland premier and deputy, Campbell Newman and Jeff Seeney, have dropped their libel action against the broadcaster Alan Jones.
The Canadian Privacy Law Blog has a post entitled “In the absence of actual harm, privacy cases are hardly worth pursuing”. This deals with the case of Albayate v. Bank of Montreal, 2015 BCSC 695 in which privacy damages were assessed in the sum of Can$2,000.
The Hindu reports that he Supreme Court has stayed proceedings in trial courts in two criminal defamation cases against Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. It has decided to hear them along with the pleas in which the constitutional validity of the penal provisions have been challenged.
The High Court has overturned a defamation damages award of €50,000 in favour of Karl Morrison against Maxela Limited. The claim concerned a poster alleged to have been attached to the door of a shop with the words “Attention Shoplifters”. The Court rejected the plaintiff’s evidence that he had seen the poster and, as a result, there was no defamation claim.
A court has dismissed a libel claim by Joseph Caruana against the editor of the Il-Mument newspaper.
The Committee for the Protection of Journalists blog has a post entitled “Why Spain’s new gag law is threat to free flow of information”.
Research and Resources
- But Names Will Never Hurt Me: Extending Hate Speech Legislation to Protect Gender and Sexual Minorities in New Zealand, Vanessa Haggie , Victoria University of Wellington – Faculty of Law, SSRN.
- The Scandals of Caroline, Max and Kate: Does Celebrity Privacy Threaten Press Freedom in the Internet Age? Garnett, Simon/Halft, Stefan/Herz, Matthias/Mönig, Julia Maria (Hgg.) Medien und Privatheit Verlag Karl Stutz Passau, Germany, 2014, Elena Falletti, Carlo Cattaneo – LIUC University, SSRN.
- The Right to Privacy and Continuous Overstepping by the Press Chenoy Ceil, University of Tampa, John H. Sykes College of Business, SSRN.
- The Right to Be Forgotten and the Least Cost Avoider, Roberto Taufick, Stanford University, School of Law, SSRN.
- Information Privacy and Data Security, Cardozo Law Review de Novo, 2015, Forthcoming, Lauren Henry, Yale University – Information Society Project, SSRN.
- Firma EDV v Germany – do companies have feelings too? Eileen Weinert, Wiggin LLP.
Next week in the courts
On 6 May 2015, there will be an application in the case of Tardios & anr v Linton.
On 7 May 2015, there will be an application in the case of Stocker v Stocker.
On 8 May 2015, there will be an application in the case of Ma v St George’s NHS Trust.
The following reserved judgment in media law cases are outstanding:
OPO v MLA, heard 19 and 20 January 2015 (UK Supreme Court)
Murray v Associated Newspapers, heard 21 January 2015 (Longmore, Ryder and Sharp LJJ)
Various Claimants v MGN, heard 9-13, 18, 24-25 March 2015 (Mann J).
Pinard-Byrne v Linton, heard 22 April 2015 (Judicial Committee of the Privy Council)
Shakil-ur-Rahman v ARY Network Ltd, heard 29 April 2015 (Warby J)
BUQ v HRE, heard 30 April 2015 (Warby J)