Journalist wins access to injunction application skeleton arguments

Benjamin Pell obtains copies of Equatorial Guinea injunction documents

Freelance journalist Benjamin Pell has won his battle to obtain copies of the skeleton arguments used in an attempt to stop Channel 4 broadcasting an interview with Simon Mann, the ‘manager’ of an attempted coup in Equatorial Guinea.

After requesting the documents Mr Pell had been told via his solicitor that Mr Mann’s solicitor “did not accept” that Mr Pell was entitled to his client’s counsel’s skeleton argument. Mr Pell applied to Mr Justice Eady at the High Court last week, who agreed with him that he was entitled to copies of the documents, subject to the redaction of any confidential information.

Mr Pell, who finally received the documents on Thursday afternoon said: “My general comment is that I shouldn’t be forced to make an application every time a lawyer decides to ignore the Civil Procedure Rules. The lawyer has a duty to inform his client that skeleton arguments are public documents and that if they choose to litigate in our courts, they must assume that someone like me will want to read their submissions.”

At the injunction hearing, 5RB’s Desmond Browne QC and Adam Wolanski (instructed by Charles Russell) acted for Channel 4. 5RB’s William Bennett (instrutcted by Collyer Bristow) was junior counsel for Eli Calil, an individual named by Mann in his interview who madea second injunction application but then withdrew it prior to the hearing.