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March 21, 2012

Flood: Supreme Court overturns Court of Appeal

Categories: Defamation, News

Tags: Defamation, Libel, public interest, Reynolds

First limb of The Times' Reynolds appeal succeeds


The Supreme Court has overturned part of the decision of the Court of Appeal  which found that a report published by The Times about an investigation into a Detective Sergeant Flood was not protected by Reynolds privilege. The original judgment was given by Tugendhat J at the conclusion of a trial which took place in July 2009.

The article, “Detective accused of taking bribes from Russian exiles”, was first published on 2 June 2006. DS Flood sued in regard to the original print publication and the ongoing publication on The Times website.

The appeal to the Supreme Court was split into two parts.  The first part concerned those publications which took place up until 5 September 2007.  The Times has succeeded on this part of the appeal.  The second part of the appeal concerns those publications which took place after 5 September 2007.  This part of the appeal will be heard in the near future.

The significance of 5 September 2007 was that on this date The Times was informed by the Metropolitan Police Service that its investigation into DS Flood had concluded and that he had been exonerated of the allegations made against him in The Times article but it did not update the website article accordingly. The second part of The Times’ appeal concerns these publications (in regard to which the trial judge and the Court of Appeal found in DS Flood’s favour).  The hearing of this part of the appeal will take place in the near future.

5RB‘s James Price QC and William Bennett (instructed by Edwin Coe LLP) act for Mr Flood.

See 5RB‘s Case Report and the Supreme Court Press Summary.