UK Court Dismisses Lawsuit Against Journalist Police Wiretapped

from the protection-of-sources dept

An interesting and important ruling came out of the UK last week, as a journalist had a lawsuit against her thrown out by a judge, because it appears that much of the evidence came from police wiretapping her phone conversations with a source in the police department. The judge ruled that journalists have a right to protect their sources, and the police wiretaps were illegal. I’m not familiar enough with UK wiretapping laws to know if they needed a court’s approval for the wiretap in the first place — but on the whole this seems like a reasonable decision, as the case itself was quite troublesome. Basically, it sounded like the police wanted to plug leaks from within the department, and then bugged the journalist to find out who the leaker was, and with that info charged both the source and the journalist. That certainly seems like an abuse of police power to try to prevent future leaks, so it’s good to see the court dismiss the whole thing.

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Comments on “UK Court Dismisses Lawsuit Against Journalist Police Wiretapped”

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9 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Jump to Conclusions Mat

Did you read any other articles? Wiretapping was not even involved. The guy’s car was bugged. Do you take everything that Mike posts as fact? The fact is according to a quote I found on a BBC article the information was legally acquired.
“It is noted that during the legal arguments the judge commented that the methods used to obtain the evidence were lawfully authorised by domestic law and that the actions of the police were proportionate.”
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7739758.stm
So my point is that Mike automatically jumped to the conclusion that the information was illegally acquired when the case was thrown out for a completely different reason.

Luci says:

Re: Jump to Conclusions Mat

What do you mean, ‘assume the worst’? That’s a comment you would need to back up. However, he didn’t jump to conclusions. He inferred a possibility gleaned by reading the linked article. Having read the article, myself, I believe his inference is quite close to the actuality of this particular case.

Anonymous Coward says:

From another AC (because I don’t take the time to fill in the other fields) who didn’t read the linked article:

I don’t know UK law either, so I won’t comment on that aspect, but I do agree with the idea behind the result.

The police should work to close leaks in their department. Not just the police, but private business and other government agencies have official means of disseminating information. Except for the whistle blower situations we should respect the fact that these entities have information that they wish to be kept secret until such time as those with authority choose to disseminate it.

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