Full case report

(1) Ting Lan Hong (2) Child KLM v XYZ & Ors

Reference [2011] EWHC 2995 (QB)
Court Queen's Bench Division

Judge Tugendhat J

Date of Judgment 18 Nov 2011


Summary

Harassment – Interim Injunction – Application without Notice – Protection from Harassment Act 1997 s.1(1)(a)


Facts

C2 was the daughter of C1 and the actor Hugh Grant. C1 and Hugh Grant had done their best to keep private the fact that C2 was their child but the information reached the public domain.  Since this, C1 stated that her life had become unbearable and she was being constantly followed by photographers.  Articles had been published in the News of the World in April 2011 which were illustrated by photographs of her that she did not know had been taken.  She had also received disturbing anonymous calls about Hugh Grant and had been followed by a man in a black Audi on more than one occasion.  In one case while she was being followed it so distracted her that she collided with another car.

After a Daily Mail article was published on 2-3 November 2011, the intrusions became even worse.  On some afternoons there had been ten or more people outside her house.  She received many calls from journalists and had voicemail messages and text messages from them.  There were photographers outside her home everyday.  They would sometimes stay all night and C1 and her neighbours would be kept up by the flashing of cameras.  There were several incidents outside her home where she or her mother had contact with the photographers and found them intimidating.  C1 said that she was unable to look after her daughter in a normal way.

Following a complaint to the PCC under Clause 4 (harassment), the PCC circulated a warning to editors.  Although a number of the journalists and photographers stopped attending the property, a number of them persisted and continued to cause distress to the Claimants.


Issue

Whether the Claimants were entitled to an interim injunction prohibiting harassment.


Held

On the basis of the evidence, the court was satisfied that it was necessary and proportionate to grant the injunction sought.

The order was made pursuant to s.1(1)(a) of the Protection of Harassment Act 1997 and made against “person or persons responsible for taking photographs of the Claimants outside their home and in the street during November 2011“.


Comment

A clear example of persistent and ununreasonable conduct by the press amounting to harassment under the 1997 Act. The handing down of the judgment coincided with Hugh Grant giving evidence to the Leveson Inquiry on press standards in relation to his treatment by the media.


Instructing Solicitors

Atkins Thomson for the Claimants; The Defendants did not appear and were not represented