Miller v Associated Newspapers Ltd: QBD 21 Dec 2012

Judgment after trial on defamation case
Mrs Justice Sharp considered the use of hearsay evidence admitted under section 4 of the 1995 Act: ‘As the authors of Phipson on Evidence, 17th edition, say at paragraph 29-15 ‘the [Civil Evidence] Act is not intended to provide a substitute for oral evidence. The basic principle under which the courts operate is that evidence is given orally with cross-examination of witnesses, and the admission of hearsay evidence is, and should be the exception to the rule. Caution should be exercised before tendering important evidence through hearsay statements. Hearsay evidence is better used where the evidence is peripheral or relatively uncontroversial.’
It seems to me that selective snippets of hearsay from individuals who have not been called, particularly where it has been ‘cherry picked’ from material which casts it in a different light, provides an obviously unsatisfactory evidential basis upon which to invite a court to find facts and/or draw adverse inferences whether as to the conduct of those individuals or anyone else. In a sense, it is Hamlet without the Prince. There may be cases where hearsay evidence and/or the contemporaneous documents in combination provide persuasive evidence, but in my judgment, they did not do so here. It is no answer to the problematic nature of the hearsay evidence relied on in this case for the Defendant to suggest . . that it was open to Mr Miller either to call the relevant individuals himself, or require their attendance for cross-examination. The burden is on the Defendant to prove its case; and the tendering of hearsay evidence which lacks weight for various reasons doesn’t cast any burden on a claimant to require the witness concerned to be called for cross-examination let alone to call the person concerned as his or her own witness.’
Mrs Justice Sharp
[2012] EWHC 3721 (QB)
Civil Evidence Act 1995 4
England and Wales
See AlsoMiller v Associated Newspapers Ltd QBD 11-Nov-2003
A policemen sued in defamation. The newspaper pleaded Reynolds qualified privilege.
Held: The plea was struck out. There has developed tendency of defendants to plead qualified privilege since the Reynolds decision in ‘rather waffly . .
See AlsoMiller v Associated Newspapers Ltd QBD 8-Apr-2005
. .
See AlsoMiller v Associated Newspapers Ltd QBD 31-Mar-2010
The claimant sought damages in defamation, saying that the defendant newspaper (Daily Mail) had implied abuse of his friendship with a Police Commissioner to obtain contracts. The defendant denied any meaning defamatory of the claimant.
Held: . .

Cited by:
CitedHijazi v Yaxley-Lennon (Orse Tommy Robinson) QBD 22-Jul-2021
No Valid Evidence to Support Serious Accusations
The claimant was filmed being assaulted in the school playground. The film was published on the internet, and the defendant right wing politician re-published it, but falsely said that the claimant had himself been violent.
Held: The . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 23 July 2021; Ref: scu.470156