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Telegraph editor Tony Gallagher’s comments on Vince Cable and PCC ruling

January 11th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Journalism

In his oral evidence to the inquiry yesterday, editor of the Daily Telegraph Tony Gallagher was asked about the PCC’s ruling in 2011 that the newspaper was wrong to use subterfuge to record MP Vince Cable at a constituency meeting – although the depth of questioning of Gallagher was criticised by Roy Greenslade in his Guardian blog.

Here is what Gallagher had to say:

The PCC ruling, which we accepted but were unhappy with … they required us to publish an abridged version of that ruling.

I felt that it was a matter of such public interest that we should publish the entire ruling, which was, from memory, about a third longer than the abridged ruling. We published it in its entirety.

When asked what the public interest was in publishing the entire ruling, he responded that “the story itself generated a huge controversy” and “was probably the most important PCC ruling of 2011”.

I felt in the interests of justice, we should carry the entire ruling, given that we’d devoted a fair amount of space to the embarrassment of the Liberal Democrats in December 2010.

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Revised guidance on live court reporting due Wednesday

December 13th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Legal, Social media and blogging

Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge is due to outline “revised practice guidance” on “electronic text-based communications” tomorrow (Wednesday, 13 December), in a follow-up to interim guidance issued a year ago.

In December 2010 England and Wales’ most senior judge provided guidance which said individuals could be granted permission to use a mobile phone or other small electronic device “in order to make live text-based communications of the proceedings”, as long as they had made a prior application to the court.

At the time the guidance emphasised that permission for live reporting of court proceedings would only be granted based on each individual case.

According to a press notice, since issuing this guidance the Lord Chief Justice has run a consultation which has included contributions from figures such as the Secretary of State for Justice and Attorney General as well as bodies such as the Press Complaints Commission and Society of Editors.

Once the guidance is outlined in court it will be published online, the notice added.

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Guardian: Police have more than 100 phone-hacking recordings

June 20th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Legal

It has been claimed in court that the Metropolitan police have more than 100 recordings understood to have been made by private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, the Guardian reported today.

The Guardian’s article states that lawyers representing public figures suing News of the World publisher, News Group Newspapers, claim that “a substantial number of the tapes and MiniDiscs seized by Scotland Yard five years ago are likely to contain voicemail messages”.

They were in court this morning to seek an order which would force the Met to hand over all the material it seized in a 2006 raid on Mulcaire’s home as part of an investigation which lead [sic] to his arrest and imprisonment. That material also includes 11,000 pages of detailed notes which are likely to list the people Mulcaire targeted.

The Guardian said Mr Justice Vos is expected to decide whether to grant this order later today or Tuesday.

Related content:
Norman Fowler calls for government inquiry into phone hacking

Phone hacking: News of the World apologises to Sienna Miller in court

Journalist wins bid to challenge Met on phone hacking despite ‘threadbare’ claim

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Superinjuctions and celebrity privacy case numbers revealed

May 16th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Legal

The Daily Star Sunday yesterday published an A to Z list of 50 superinjunctions and “anonymous injunctions”, including one which allegedly relates to someone who has died.

Publication of the list follows a week of much debate after a Twitter account featured a string of allegations against public figures accused of having taken out superinjunctions, some of which have since been publicly denied.

This weekend the Daily Star Sunday reported there are currently 12 superinjunctions in existance, of which no details can be reported. The paper then lists the remaining “anonymous injunctions”.

This came a day after the Mail reported that between 30 and 40 celebrities currently have legal protection in place. On Friday the Telegraph revealed the courts had issued 80 gagging orders in the last six years.

The International Forum for Responsible Media reported it hopes to provide its own list from public sources, shortly.

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Jon Slattery: Government urged to set aside time for gagging law debate

May 5th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Legal

An MP urged the government to set aside time for a Commons debate on gagging orders today, suggesting there are rumours circulating that another member of Parliament has taken out a super-injunction to prevent discussion of their activities, Jon Slattery reports in this blog post.

The allegation was made in the Commons as MPs discussed future Parliamentary business – including whether to debate judge-made privacy laws and gagging orders.

Conservative MP for Hendon, Matthew Offord reportedly said:

“Is the Leader of the House aware of the anomaly this creates if, as has been rumoured, a member of this place seeks a super-injunction to prevent discussion of their activities?”

Leader of the House Sir George Young was said to reply that it was “a very important issue about how we balance on the one hand an individual’s right to privacy and, on the other hand, the freedom of expression and transparency”.

He said the government would wait for the report from Lord Neuberger’s special committee on the issue, before deciding the next step.

“It may then be appropriate for the House to have a debate on this important issue,” he added.

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Telegraph: New court order bans journalists from approaching witnesses

April 20th, 2011 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Editors' pick, Legal

The Daily Telegraph’s health correspondent Martin Beckford has reported an order has been made in the Court of Protection banning approaches to witnesses in a case involving an individual referred to only as ‘M’ and addresses linked to the main parties.

The injunction warns: “If you disobey this order you may be found guilty of contempt of court and may be sent to prison or fined or your assets may be seized.”

It goes on to say that the order – which will remain in effect “during the lifetime of M” – bans anyone who is sent it from “communicating with M or with any other member of M’s family, whether orally in person, or by telephoning, text message, email or other means”.

According to the Telegraph the injunction lists 65 different people who must not be contacted, except through a solicitor.

The order also allegedly bans reporters from going within 50 metres of four properties listed.

The full Telegraph report can be found here…

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Guardian: MP launches inquiry into new gagging orders

April 18th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Legal

The Guardian reports MP John Hemming is launching an inquiry into “excessive and possibly unlawful court secrecy” in relation to the use of ‘hyperinjunctions’.

His inquiry follows a case in the High Court last week and the use of orders which could allegedly mean journalists could face prison for asking questions about the case.

“This goes a step further than preventing people speaking out against injustice,” said Hemming, the Liberal Democrat MP for Birmingham Yardley and a longtime campaigner against secrecy.

“It has the effect of preventing journalists from speaking to people subject to this injunction without a risk of the journalist going to jail. That is a recipe for hiding miscarriages of justice.”

Read the full Guardian report here…

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Inforrm Blog: Superinjunction decision raises free speech conundrum

November 24th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Legal

Last week Journalism.co.uk reported that a superinjunction preventing news organisations from naming Take That singer Howard Donald had been lifted by the court of appeal.

It means that the media can report the identity of the claimant, Donald, in the case, but an order banning former girlfriend Adakini Ntuli from selling her story remains.

Commenting on the decision in an opinion piece on the Inforrm blog (the International Forum for Responsible Media) Charlotte Harris, the head of media at JMW Solicitors LLP, who represented Ntuli in the case, discusses her view on the impact of the decision.

While it may appear at first a success for the free speech cause, she says, the decision presents a set of new difficulties for defendants and claimants in such cases.

In Ms N’tuli’s case, part of her story has been made public but she is prevented from addressing any criticism levelled at her, addressing any speculation or responding fully to press statements made that may be incorrect. Ironically her freedom of speech is more important now then it was back in March when the injunction was first served on her.

The assumptions made about her untold story are now assumptions made about her. Ms N’tuli cannot properly defend herself. She cannot say what she really intended to publish.

…So what of the future claimant? It is going to be harder to secure superinjunctions, anonymised injunctions or, it now seems, to keep an interim injunction in place unless the claimant’s case is proceeding at reasonable pace. The lifting of an injunction obtained, or the revelation of who the parties are can draw further attention to a story and pour fuel on a scandal. I would predict that until there is a clearer picture as to what on earth is going in the Queen’s Bench Division, it is not just defendants who are forced to be brave, but claimants too. If injunctions are to be de-anonymised then it is a lose/lose situation. It might be better to manage the client’s reputation and deal with a scandal through the libel courts.

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CMLP: Is liveblogging a trial journalism?

February 4th, 2009 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Editors' pick, Legal

Citizen Media Law Project’s Arthur Bright looks at the pros and cons of liveblogging and Twittering from the courtroom.

Full story at this link…

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Deadline reporter cleared of interview impersonation charge

August 11th, 2008 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Legal

Lauren Crooks, a reporter with Scottish press agency Deadline, has been cleared of impersonating a court official to gain an interview.

Crooks was cleared of the charge on Friday after a year spent fighting the allegation and eight court appearances, the agency has said in a press release.

The reporter was arrested in August 2007 following an interview with an assault victim, whose case she had been covering at Edinburgh’s Sheriff Court.

Despite giving out her business card, the interviewee contacted police to say they had only agreed to the interview because Crooks she said she was a court official.

Crooks said she ‘couldn’t have been any clearer’ in making her position as a reporter known during the interview, even making requests for photographs to be set up for a Sunday newspaper

“I have spent 20 years in the Scottish media and everyone I have spoken to has expressed nothing but disbelief that this should have happened at all. I dread to think how much this ludicrous case has cost the taxpayer in wasted police, procurator fiscal and court time,” said Scott Douglas, founder of Deadline, in the release.

“Even more sinister is why a police force –  already under fire for its deliberate erosion of media relations – went to such lengths to pursue a reporter and an agency with an unblemished reputation on a case which didn’t stand up to even the most basic scrutiny.”

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