Journalist wins Brady source case

Court upholds right to protect source at Ashworth Hospital

Freelance investigative Journalist, Robert Ackroyd has successfully defended a claim brought by Mersey Care NHS Trust for disclosure of his source for an article over Moors’ murderer Ian Brady. 

In a judgment handed down today by Mr Justice Tugendhat, the Court ruled that the public interest in preserving the anonymity of the journalist’s sources overrode the Hospital’s legitimate aim to seek redress against the persons responsible for the leak of medical information to the journalist about Ian Brady.

The case arose following a Daily Mirror article in December 1999 headed “Death Wish Diary – Hunger Strike Brady is determined to die”. The article published extracts from the hospital’s patient database regarding Ian Brady’s physical and psychological state.

Ashworth Hospital subsequently successfully forced the Daily Mirror to identify its source for the article after a legal case that went all the way to the House of Lords. After the Lords decision, Mr Ackroyd stepped forward as the journalist who had supplied the Mirror‘s story. Ashworth then began the present proceedings against Mr Ackroyd to force him to reveal the identity of his source at the Hospital.

Although in declining to require Mr Ackroyd to identify his source, the Judge reached a different conclusion from the House of Lords, he made it clear that the facts of the case were materially different from the earlier case.

The Trust leave was granted permission to appeal due to the complex history of this case.

Click here for the 5RB case report and judgment.