Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

You'll receive a callback from a specialist within an hour

The facts in Flood v Times Newspapers

Detective Sergeant Flood (“the Respondent”) is an employee of the Metropolitan Police Service. The Respondent was investigated by the Metropolitan Police in 2006 for alleged corruption, with the investigation subsequently concluding that Sergeant Flood was not guilty of corruption. On 2 June 2006 The Times wrote an article on the Respondent which defamed him.

The High Court that the Respondent had been defamed but that the Appellant could rely on the Reynolds defence. The Court of Appeal overturned the High Court’s judgment, finding that the Appellant was not entitled to rely on the Reynolds defence. The Appellant subsequently appealed the decision to the Supreme Court on the principal point that a Reynolds defence applied.

The law relating to defamation

To succeed in a case for defamation a Claimant (the person or business defamed) must show on the balance of probabilities that:

  1. That a defamatory statement has been made (“defamation”)
  2. That this defamatory statement referred to the Claimant (“referral”)
  3. That this defamatory statement referring to the Claimant was published to a third party (“publication”)

Defamation occurs if a statement is published in permanent (libel) or semi-permanent (slander) form – respectively, for example, in a newspaper or by word of mouth. For a statement to be defamatory it must lower the Claimant in the eyes of right-thinking persons – essentially that it would reasonably damage the reputation of the Claimant.

The defamatory statement must refer to the Claimant and may be defamatory even if the offending statement does not mention the Claimant by name. Further, it is not even necessary that the Defendant (the person or business doing the defaming) should have intended that the statement refer to the Claimant (as in the “Artemus Jones” case).

Further, the defamatory statement referring to the Claimant must have been published to at least one other person other than the Claimant.

There are a number of defences available to a Defendant if the proving of defamation succeeds, including:

  1. Truth
  2. Consent of the Claimant
  3. Fair comment
  4. Privilege (qualified and absolute)

The Appellant in this case was relying on qualified privilege as a defence. We will therefore now look at the component parts of this defence.

In order to succeed in demonstrating that the Reynolds defence applies a Defendant must demonstrate that:

  1. That the publication of the article within which the defamatory statement is contained is in the public interest; and
  2. That the Defendant has acted responsibly in publishing the information

The Supreme Court’s decision in Flood v Times Newspapers

The Supreme Court found that a defamatory statement referring to the Claimant had been published by the Appellant. It did, however, find that the Reynolds defence applied and that the Appellant was therefore protected from liability. The Supreme Court determined that the publication of the article was in the public interest as the story was of high public importance and that the publication had the legitimate aim of ensuring that a fair and thorough investigation was carried out by the Metropolitan Police. Lord Dyson further commented that the publication of stories of police corruption would generally fall under a Reynolds defence should the test of responsible journalism be met.


Tagged with →  

Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

You'll receive a callback from a specialist within an hour

Share →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 

Our awards

Request a callback

    Your first name (required)

    Your last name (required)

    Your email (required)

    Your telephone number (required)

    Brief details of your enquiry

    Contact us

    Please feel free to discuss your own position and concerns. Contact your nearest office on:

    T: 020 3397 3603
    E: enquiries@redmans.co.uk
    W: www.redmans.co.uk

    Testimonials

    4.77 Average

    205 Reviews

    Gary P

    All good advice, prompt and efficient

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    Excellent advice and customer service.

    Posted 2 months ago

    Aneet G

    I would definitely recommend Redmans. Very impressed with service provided. They were extremely proactive in handling my case which made things easier for me. Provided sound advice and resolution. Special credit for this goes to Chris who dealt with my case with great determination and consideration.

    Posted 2 months ago

    Fern M

    Very efficient and friendly

    Posted 2 months ago

    Neville S

    A professional and friendly service, which I would highly recommend.

    Posted 2 months ago

    Daniel T

    Extremely helpful and made a bad situation much more manageable. Where other solicitors seemed disinterested in my situation Redmans immediately made me feel like it was a team effort to achieve a more favourable outcome

    Posted 2 months ago

    Paul T

    Excellent, quick and informative. Chris was a real star and gave me confidence during the uncertainty if a redundancy settlement.

    Posted 2 months ago

    Marina E

    Felt in very capable hands was listened to and given excellent advice. Would not hesitate to recomend and use again if needed.

    Posted 2 months ago

    Rosa B

    Fabulous service all round.

    Posted 2 months ago

    Anonymous

    Redmans were quick to respond to my enquiry and dealt with my case professionally and personably. I received sound advice and was put at ease by Chris Hadrill, Partner.

    Posted 2 months ago

    Alkhas K

    Excellent service.

    Posted 2 months ago

    Mathias G

    Contacted them regarding my end of employment agreement. Chris Hadrill dealt with it and was done and handed back to employer same day more than happy with there service.

    Posted 3 months ago

    Mark W

    Most professional from start to finish offering very a personal service. Most impressive and quick when dealing with the matters in hand.

    Posted 4 months ago

    Anonymous

    Posted 4 months ago

    submit

    I am very glad I came across Redmans Solicitors. Fantastic service!

    Posted 4 months ago

    Anonymous

    Fantastic communication, always happy to answer queries, highly recommended.

    Posted 4 months ago

    Wavenie B

    They were very straight to the point, friendly and understanding people. I felt they had my best interest. They were easy to get hold of, replies were almost instant. 5/5 for customer service

    Posted 4 months ago

    Christina P

    Caroline was fantastic to work with - extremely knowledgeable, supportive, thorough and honest. I definitely recommend Redmans!

    Posted 4 months ago

    Anonymous

    Very well done and fast support. Professional and reliable. Highly recommended!

    Posted 4 months ago

    Helene L

    They were very knowledgable in the respected area in terms of change in law/regulations that is crucial for the clients who are seeking for legal arvice.

    Posted 4 months ago

    Sara R

    Very helpful and wonderful advice

    Posted 4 months ago