Journalists seeking comment held not harassment

Contacts with story subject did not pass seriousness threshold

HHJ Moloney QC sitting as a High Court judge today held that approaches by the media to the subject of a story in order to seek comment was not capable of being harassment in a decision striking out that part of  harassment proceedings.

The harassment claim brought by Zipporah Lisle-Mainwaring against Associated Newspapers was in respect of both a series of articles and repeated contacts made by journalists in order to seek comment. In a decision of particular significance to journalists, HHJ Moloney said:

there is nothing surprising, oppressive, unacceptable or exceptional about the journalists’ behaviour here. It was well within the limits of normal rough-and-tumble which people must expect in a free society . . .”

5RB‘s Christina Michalos appeared as junior Counsel for the Defendant led by Andrew Caldecott QC.

The proceedings are on going; the Court declined to grant summary judgment in respect of the remainder of the harassment claim.

A 5RB case report is available here and the report in respect of earlier separate but related libel proceedings is here.