Channel 5 apologises and agrees to pay substantial damages
Channel 5 has joined in a statement in open court, apologised and agreed to pay substantial damages to a couple who were shown in the television programme Can’t Pay? We’ll Take it Away! Keith Wain and Julie Kelly sued the broadcaster in misuse of private information in respect of the filming, making and multiple broadcasts of an episode of the television programme featuring them.
In the statement, Mrs Justice Collins-Rice was told that the programme showed the claimants in their home in a state of considerable distress, as High Court Enforcement Officers (“HCEAs”) attended to enforce a debt. Mr Wain had not permitted the film crew to enter their property, and made it clear that he did not want them to film inside the couple’s home. However, the HCEAs wore bodycams and radio microphones and so recorded what took place within the home. These recordings were then included in the programme. The programme was broadcast to over 2.5 million people in a version with Mr Wain and Ms Kelly’s faces shown, and to a further 4.2 million people in a form in which their faces were blurred and names removed. The broadcast caused Mr Wain and Ms Kelly immense upset and distress.
Channel 5 agreed to apologise for the distress caused to them, as well as paying substantial damages to settle the claim.
Mrs Justice Collins-Rice said: “I do hope that today’s statement and the other terms of the settlement will assist Mr Wain and Ms Kelly to draw a line under this clearly upsetting episode.” The judge added that while the broadcaster worked on a case-by-case basis to balance privacy and the public interest, she suggested there is “perhaps an opportunity here” to consider how the balance is struck and stories are approached.