BNP members refused permission to appeal in reportage case

House of Lords will not review reportage defence

Two British National Party general election candidates who lost a libel action over an article published in anti-fascist magazine Searchlight have today been refused permission to appeal to the House of Lords.

Eady J held in May 2006 that the article was protected by the reportage defence first established in Al-Fagih v HH Saudi Research and Marketing (UK) Ltd and that decision was upheld by the Court of Appeal in July of last year.

The candidates, brothers Christopher and Barry Roberts, sought to have those decisions overturned by the House of Lords, contending that journalists must always verify allegations of criminal conduct. It would have been the first time that the highest court has considered the reportage defence, but today’s decision puts an end to their hopes.