Robin Ackroyd gets his day in court

FREELANCE journalist Robin Ackroyd won, on 16 May, the right to (try to) protect his sources.

Robin Ackroyd: pic © Stefano Cagnoni
Robin Ackroyd outside the High Court in London's Strand for his hearing on 18 October

In June 2002 the House of Lords ruled that the Daily Mirror must reveal the source of a story about the treatment of one Ian Brady in Ashworth Ashworth high security hospital. Robin came out as the intermediary for the story, and re-stated: "I do not betray my sources." In October a High Court judge ruled that Robin must reveal his source. There was no full hearing and Robin was not able to give evidence, because the judge ruled that his case bore a "striking similarity" to the Mirror case.

Now a new hearing in the Court of Appeal has overturned that last ruling. This puts the ball back in the hospital authority's court: will it pursue a separate case against Robin? Lord Justice May said: "I consider that Mr Ackroyd has a real prospect of successfully defending this claim."

And Lord Justice Ward said "Judges should be vigilant to protect the freedom of the press... Mr Ackroyd presents himself as a serious investigation journalist... The way in which the hospital has managed its patients was a matter of public interest."

Last modified: 19 May 2003 - © 2003 contributors
The Freelance editor is elected by London Freelance Branch and responsibility for content lies solely with the editor of the time
Send comments to the editor: editor@londonfreelance.org