ITN sued over prison key footage

Home Office brings action for cost of replacing jail keys

The Home Office has launched legal proceedings against ITN after it broadcast close-up images of a prison key that could allow the key to be replicated.

ITN’s report on the racially motivated murder of 19-year-old Zahid Mubarek included footage of a lock and key at London’s Feltham Young Offenders Institution. Security experts advised that this could be used by locksmiths to replicate the key, leading prison authorities to spend £258,595 changing all 11,000 locks and 3,200 keys. They have now brought proceedings against the broadcaster for that amount.

A Home Office spokesman said: “We can confirm the Home Office has taken out legal proceedings against ITN to recover costs for the relock at Feltham young offenders institution in June 2006.”

Journalists and reporters are usually required to sign a contract in order to enter prisons, a standard term of which is that any details of keys or locks are not to be broadcast or published for obvious security reasons.