The most important media law event of week is the damages appeal in Gulati v MGN which is due to be heard by the Court of Appeal on 20 and 21 October 2015. We had a case preview yesterday and hope to report on the hearing as it proceeds.
In the final Operation Elveden trial involving journalists, Chris Pharo and Jamie Pyatt of the Sun were acquitted of aiding and abetting misconduct in a public office.
These acquittals produced predictable howls of outrage from journalists. Trevor Kavanagh of the Sun blaming an “unholy alliance of politicians, police and prosecutors” – having, apparently, forgotten that the journalists were reported to the police by the Management and Standards Committee of News Corporation.
The trial of former New Zealand cricketer Chris Cairns for perjury continues. This week evidence was given, by among others, New Zealand cricketers, Lou Vincent and Brendon McCullum. The trial was covered by the Cricinfo website
- ‘Cairns ordered me to fix matches’ – Vincent
- Tuffey ‘furious at Cairns non-payment’, Vincent tells court
- ‘Fleming confronted me for being dirty’ – Vincent
- McCullum tells of Cairns ‘spot-fix approaches’
- ‘ICL powerless’, Cairns told Adams
Graham Johnson continues to provide further exclusives (in general ignored by the mainstream media) on Byline concerning phone hacking. His latest piece is entitled “News of the World private detective blows lid on new dark art: clone hacking”.
On the same site, Peter Jukes has a piece on how Alan Rusbridger became a surveillance target after the phone hacking scandal.
Data Protection and Data Privacy
On 14 October 2015, the Investigatory Powers Tribunal handed down judgment in Caroline Lucas and ors v Security Service [pdf] in relation to the so-called “Wilson doctrine”. The Tribunal held that the doctrine applies only to targeted interception but has no legal effect. Paul Bernal had a post about the decision. The Open Rights Group is offering to help to protect MPs’ communications.
The ISP liability blog reports that the Spanish Data Protection Authority has decided that Mr Costeja – the complainant in the Google Spain case – does not have the right to suppress links to comments about the decision.
The Panopticon blog has a post about the decision in W, X, Y and Z v Secretary of State for Health, Secretary of State for the Home Department and British Medical Association  EWCA Civ 1034 concerning the sharing of medical information.
The Hawktalk blog notes that Google has failed to appeal enforcement notices concerning its policy of informing websites that personal data has been delisted.
Finally, in a decision which has potentially wide ranging consequences a Court in Seoul has ordered Google to disclose the list of personal information of South Korean users it handed over to third parties, including a U.S. intelligence agency
Statements in Open Court and Apologies
There were no statements in open court last week.
Newspapers, Journalism and regulation
On 15 October 2015, the so-called “Free Speech Network” – an organised financed by the Telegraph, the Mail and News UK – launched a publication entitled “Leveson’s Illiberal Legacy” [pdf]. Unsurprisingly, this launch received widespread publicity in the sponsoring newspapers – which never publish any contrary, pro-Leveson views.
Hacked Off commented that the document was “a rehash of discredited arguments advanced by an industry which continues to refuse to agree to independent and effective regulation”. The arguments that exemplary damages and court ordered apologies are contrary to Article 10 have previously been considered on Inforrm.
The Independent Media Column has a piece “The newspaper industry is still fighting for life, but there is hope for the future”.
Last week in the Courts
On Saturday 10 October 2015, Popplewell J granted a without notice injunction in the case of JPH v XYZ ( EWHC 2871), The case involved a threat to publish intimate photographs by the former partner of an actor. There were comments on the 5RB website and on the Scandalous! Law blog. On 16 October 2016, the return date, Blake J continued the injunction until trial or further order. The judgment can be found here [pdf]. There is another 5RB case comment.
On Monday 12 October 2015 the Privy Council handed down judgment in the case of Pinard-Byrne v Linton, (heard 22 April 2015)  UKPC 41. The appeal was allowed on the basis that the defendant had not carried out any reasonable investigations into the truth of the allegations made. There was a 5RB case comment.
The trial in Yeo v Times Newspapers Ltd began before Warby J on 12 October and carried on all week.
The trial in Umeyor v Nwakamma was heard by Jay J on 12, 13 and 14 October 2015 and he handed down judgment on 16 October 2015. This has not yet been made available on Bailii or any of the paying sites. If any reader has a copy we would be delighted to receive one.
On 14 October 2015, HHJ Graham Wood QC gave judgment in the case of Elliott v Staffordshire Police dismissing a slander claim arising out of comments made in a child protection conference. A case summary is available on Lawtel
27 October 2015, “Prevent duty for universities now in force” One-day event will discuss implications of Counter-Terrorism & Security Act 2015, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, University of London
Please let us know if there are any events you would like to be included on this list by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Media Law in Other Jurisdictions
In the case of Zoef v Nationwide News ( NSWDC 323), the NSW District Court found for the defendant in a claim brought by an 86 year old tailor in respect of a newspaper article alleging, among other things, that he was a gun runner and a “gun slinging punk” on the basis that the plaintiff had refused to accept a reasonable offer of amends.
In the case of Benyon v Manthey ( QDC 252), the Queensland District Court awarded damages of Aus$25,000 in respect of an allegation, inter alia, that
“the plaintiff is not fit to be a parent because he allowed his young daughter to watch while photographs were being taken of people eating sushi from her mother’s naked body”
We will have a case comment on this case later in the week
The family of convicted drug smuggler Schapelle Corby has been awarded almost $1 million in damages after a book published claims their father Mick ran a drug syndicate. There was a report in the Australian.
The CzechDefamationLaw blog reports on a decision of the Constitutional Court to the effect that statements by an MP on Facebook are not within the scope of the constitutional parliamentary immunity,
The Times of Israel reports that Likud Knesset member, Oren Hazan has submitted 1 million shekel libel claim against Channel 2 report Amit Segal over what he described as a “tsunami of false allegations”. There is also a report of the action in the Jerusalem Post.
The Times of Malta reports that former Health Minister Joe Cassar has been awarded damages against the Labour Party over a statement released three years ago.
Research and Resources
- MsLods, “Law+tech news round-up”, 18 October 2015
- The Right to Privacy: Appealing, But Flawed, International Journal of Human Rights, Vol. 9, No. 1, 3-36, March 2005, C Doyle and Mirko Bagaric , Deakin University, Geelong, Australia – Deakin Law School and Deakin University, Geelong, Australia – Deakin Law School
- The Economics of the Right to Be Forgotten, NET Institute Working Paper No. 15-02, Byung-Cheol Kim and Jin Yeub Kim, Georgia Institute of Technology and University of Nebraska at Lincoln – Department of Economics
- Liability for Listening: Why Phone Hacking Is an Actionable Breach of Privacy, (2015) 8 Journal of Media Law, N. A. Moreham, Victoria University of Wellington – Faculty of Law
- The UN Special Rapporteur: Advancing a Global Privacy Treaty?, (2015) 136 Privacy Laws & Business International Report, 7-9, Graham Greenleaf , University of New South Wales, Faculty of Law
- Multifactoral Free Speech, Northwestern University Law Review, Vol. 110, 2016, Alexander Tsesis, Loyola University Chicago School of Law
- The Uncertain Landscape of Article 8 of the ECHR: The Protection of Reputation as a Fundamental Human Right?, Tanya Aplin and Jason John Bosland, King’s College London and University of Melbourne
Next week in the courts
The trial in Yeo v Times Newspapers will continue on 19 and 20 October 2015.
As already mentioned, on 20 and 21 October 2015 the Court of Appeal will hear the damages appeal in Gulati v MGN.
On 21 October 2015, Warby J will hear an application for permission to appeal in the case of Lachaux v Independent Print. This concerns only the decision in relation to AOL. We had a case comment on the decision in August.
On 22 October 2015 there will be an application in the case of Barnes v Smith & ors.
The following reserved judgment in a media law case is outstanding:
Rahman v ARY Network Ltd, heard 1, 2 and 6 July 2015 (Haddon-Cave J).