The Claimant/Appellant (C) had been charged by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) on “five charges of making indecent images of children, five charges of possession of indecent images of children, and one charge of possession of a prohibited image”. The CPS put out a press release on 27 April 2015 announcing the charges that would be brought.
C said that the single meaning of the words was that he was strongly suspected of involvement in both ‘making’ and ‘possessing’ indecent images of children, whereas the factual allegations against him were limited to alleged downloading (which, as a matter of law, can constitute ‘making’ in s.1 of the Protection of Children Act 1978).
Although pleading Not Guilty to all charges, he accepted that the press release was ‘True’ (per s.2 Defamation Act 2013) in respect of the possession offences but only on the basis that he had been so charged, and that if the words did not carry his meaning or similar, that the claim would have to be dismissed. The CPS accepted that if the words bore C’s meaning, and also carried a sting of involvement in the actual production of such images (by photographing it, or being involved in some way in capturing the images), that this would not be substantially true under s.2 Defamation Act 2013, and that the only substantive defence to be run at trial would be Public Interest, pursuant to s.4 Defamation Act 2013.
At a trial of meaning as a preliminary issue  EWHC 1926 (QB), Warby J held that the words did not bear the C’s meaning, but meant that he had been charged with the statutory offences as set out in the press release, and that readers would not draw any conclusions as to ‘making’ as pleaded by C.
C appealed the determination of meaning by Warby J, with the permission given on the papers by Vos LJ.