Callaghan v Independent News and Media Ltd: QBNI 7 Jan 2009


The claimant was convicted in 1987 of a callous sexual murder. He sought an order preventing the defendant newspaper publishing anything to allow his or his family’s identification and delay his release. The defendant acknowledged the need to avoid the identification, but disputed the extent of the restriction to be given.
Held: The order was made as requested. Articles published to date had been designed to create hostility, and were unbalanced, and without being informative as to any risks: ‘the articles are calculated to and do incite hatred’ and ‘when carrying out any balancing exercise it is important not to conflate two aspects of public interest. There is on the one hand a recognised legitimate public interest in relation to the debate as to whether it is right to publish detailed information about sex offenders when they are to be released into the community and if so the extent of that information. I will term that ‘the wider debate’. On the other hand there is a narrower and particular debate in this case as to whether it is in the public interest to publish unpixelated photographs of a particular individual that is the first plaintiff. I will term that ‘the narrower debate’. There are various observations that can be made about the public interest in the wider and narrower debates. It is not necessary to publish photographs of the first plaintiff to participate in the wider debate. A public interest in the wider debate does not establish a public interest in the publication of unpixelated photographs of the first plaintiff. ‘ and ‘the test requires the publisher to consider whether a proposed series of articles, which is likely to cause distress to an individual, will constitute an abuse of the freedom of press which the pressing social needs of a democratic society require should be curbed. ‘

Stephens J
[2009] NIQB 1
Protection from Harassment (Northern Ireland) Order 1997 1
MentionedRegina v Wright and others NICC 2007
On 26 December 2004 the defendant murdered Noel McComb, a street alcoholic believing, incorrectly, that his victim was a paedophile. . .
CitedHellewell v Chief Constable of Derbyshire QBD 13-Jan-1995
The police were asked by shopkeepers concerned about shoplifting, for photographs of thieves so that the staff would recognise them. The police provided photographs including one of the claimant taken in custody. The traders were told only to show . .
CitedMosley v News Group Newspapers Ltd QBD 24-Jul-2008
The defendant published a film showing the claimant involved in sex acts with prostitutes. It characterised them as ‘Nazi’ style. He was the son of a fascist leader, and a chairman of an international sporting body. He denied any nazi element, and . .
CitedRegina (on the Application of Ellis) v The Chief Constable of Essex Police Admn 12-Jun-2003
An officer proposed to print the face of a convicted burglar on posters to be displayed in the town. The court considered the proposal. The probation service objected that the result would be to make it more difficult for him to avoid criminality on . .
CitedAttorney-General v Guardian Newspapers Ltd (No 2) (‘Spycatcher’) HL 13-Oct-1988
Loss of Confidentiality Protection – public domain
A retired secret service employee sought to publish his memoirs from Australia. The British government sought to restrain publication there, and the defendants sought to report those proceedings, which would involve publication of the allegations . .
CitedDerbyshire County Council v Times Newspapers Ltd and Others HL 18-Feb-1993
Local Council may not Sue in Defamation
Local Authorities must be open to criticism as political and administrative bodies, and so cannot be allowed to sue in defamation. Such a right would operate as ‘a chill factor’ on free speech. Freedom of speech was the underlying value which . .
CitedJersild v Denmark ECHR 20-Oct-1994
A journalist was wrongly convicted himself of spreading racial hatred by quoting racists in his material.
Held: Freedom of expression is one of the essential foundations of a democratic society. The safeguards to be afforded to the press are . .
CitedThomas v News Group Newspapers Ltd CA 18-Jul-2001
The publication of articles in a newspaper describing how a ‘black clerk’ had complained about the allegedly racist comments of two policemen was said to have caused the claimant to receive racist hate mail.
Held: The court considered the type . .
CitedLehideux And Isorni v France ECHR 23-Sep-1998
Hudoc Judgment (Merits and just satisfaction) Violation of Art. 10; Non-pecuniary damage – finding of violation sufficient; Costs and expenses partial award – Convention proceedings . .
CitedBroadmoor Hospital Authority and Another v Robinson CA 20-Dec-1999
Where a body was given statutory duties, it would normally be entitled to orders restraining others from interfering with its performance of those duties. A patient detained under the Act had written a book, and the Hospital had sought to restrain . .
CitedHowlett v Holding QBD 25-Jan-2006
The claimant sought an injunction against the defendant who had taken to flying airplanes above her house trailing banners making allegations against her, and also to making surveillance of her.
Held: The defence under the 1997 Act excusing . .

Cited by:
MentionedHayes v Willoughby CA 13-Dec-2011
Harassment Occurs on the Result, not the Intention
The claimant said that over several years, the respondent had pursued him in many ways challenging his management of a company’s affairs. Complaints had been investigated by the insolvency service and by the police who had discovered nothing to . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Northern Ireland, Media, Human Rights

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.279845