Robin Ackroyd gets his day in court
FREELANCE journalist Robin Ackroyd won, on 16 May, the right
to (try to) protect his sources.
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.
Robin Ackroyd outside the High Court in London's Strand for his hearing on 18 October
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."