On 16 May 2014, Mr Justice Mann handed down judgment in the matters of Sarah Hannon and Daniel Dufour v News Group Newspapers Limited (‘NGN’) and the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis. These are two cases which arise out of Operation Elveden; the police investigation into corrupt payments by journalists to public officials such as the Police.
The judgment deals with the applications made by NGN that both claims should be struck out. NGN’s reasoning for the applications were primarily that the claims should have been brought in defamation (and not privacy) and would therefore be statute barred. NGN also reasoned that the Claimants had no reasonable expectation of confidence or privacy, submitting that the Claimants could not have such expectations in relation to information about their arrest.
Mr Justice Mann ruled that both the strike out applications failed and should be dismissed. The judge made a number of insightful comments throughout his reasoning. The judgment can be found at: http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Ch/2014/1580.html and makes for interesting reading. It seems that these cases now seem set to pave the way for future Operation Elveden claims, which will certainly not put a smile on NGN’s face given the huge number of claims they have faced in the litigation surrounding Operation Weeting.