Georgallides v Etzin

Reference: 12/07/2005

Court: Queen's Bench Division

Judge: Gray J

Date of judgment: 12 Jul 2005

Summary:

Harassment - Protection from Harassment Act 1997 - interim injunction - whether application for injunction for harassment was an attempt to circumvent rule in Bonnard v Perryman - s.12 Human Rights Act 1998- articles 8 and 10 - width of injunction

Appearances: Adam Speker (Defendant) 

Instructing Solicitors: Beller & Co for the Defendant; David Price for the Claimant

Facts

On 17 June 2005 C gave an interview to the Evening Standard to publicise his new restaurant. D, who had been employed by the C (through his companies) to run the marketing and promotion of C’s former nightclub, read the interview and was angry because he was owed money when the company went into receivership. D wrote to the C demanding money he said he was owed and they met for lunch the following day. Afterwards C alleged and D denied that D made a series of anonymous phone calls to him and made threats. Then as he admitted D arranged for an advertisement van and students with placards and leaflets to protest outside C’s new restaurant and elsewhere. C obtained an emergency injunction over the telephone with a return date.

Issue

(1) the correct test to apply at this hearing; (2) whether the Claimant had succeeded in demonstrating that he was likely to succeed at trial and the injunction should continue; and
(3) the width of the terms of any injunction.

Held

(1) Article 10 was clearly engaged and hence the test to be applied was laid down in s.12(3) of the Human Rights Act: href=”http://localhost/5rb/casereports/detail.asp?case=288″ target=_parent>Cream Holdings v Banerjee considered. Although the words on the posters were defamatory of the C the application was not an attempt to circumvent the rule in Bonnard v Perryman by the C but to avoid his being harassed; (2) even though the D had given a series of undertakings not to act in certain ways the C still satisfied the Court that he was likely to succeed at trial on the matters not subject to the undertakings.
(3) It did not follow however that the C was entitled to an injunction in general terms and D would be allowed to continue his protest (subject to the undertakings) and provided he did not enter an exclusion zone of 50 yards around the restaurant and other properties.

Comment

The Judge made clear that the terms of the injunction should be narrow and clear which allowed a proper balance between the C’s rights not to be harassed and D’s right to freedom of expression. He also re-iterated that on an emergency injunction it was essential that all reasonable efforts were made to ensure that the D knew about the hearing; to ensure that the evidence and law that a D would reasonably rely upon was referred to; that the Judge should be reminded in terms of s.12 and any relevant articles of the ECHR and a full note should be made of the hearing and served on the D.