March 9, 2006
BBC wins waiting lists libel claim
Claimant found to have been involved in falsification of hospital waiting list figures
The High Court has today dismissed a libel claim brought by a senior manager at Weston General Hospital over allegations made in a BBC Points West news bulletin over falsification of waiting list figures.
Giving judgment following a 3-week trial at the High Court in London, Mr Justice Gray found that the BBC had proved substantially true allegations that Marion Henry, the General Manager at the hospital, had been complicit in the falsification of the hospital’s waiting list figures and a cover-up of the fraud.
Although the BBC failed to prove a further allegation that Mrs Henry had been guilty of bullying and pressurising staff in order to carry out the fraud, the judge ruled that the failure to prove this allegation in the light of what he was satisfied was true made no difference to the outcome.
The Judge had dismissed the BBC’s defence of qualified privilege after an earlier hearing that ended in December last year.
Permission to appeal was refused, and Mrs Henry now has 28 days within which to seek permission from the Court of Appeal. The Court ordered Mrs Henry to pay the BBC’s costs.
5RB‘s Jacob Dean was acting as junior counsel for the Claimant.
Click here for the 5RB case report and full judgment.