Police “rode rough-shod over the limited protection afforded to journalists”

The BBC report that Belfast High Court heard today that the PSNI have settled, out of court, in a legal action taken by The Times Northern Ireland editor Liam Clarke and journalist Kathryn Johnston, and agreed to pay their legal costs and “an unprecedented sum of damages”. The legal action came following the Police Ombudsman’s report into the police raid on Clarke and Johnston’s home after publication of their biography of Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness which included transcripts of telephone conversations between McGuinness and senior government officials. UpdatedThanks to “Sir Orde” in the comments, we have the following statements

Statement from Liam Clarke/Kathy Johnston

“This settlement follows serious criticism of the PSNI in the Police Ombudsman’s report which the Chief Constable accepted in its entirety. Mrs O’Loan’s report led to the disciplining of several officers, as well as recommending fundamental changes in police procedures.

This was a case where the police tore up the rule book and rode rough shod over the limited protection afforded to journalists and the press by law. The PSNI had no option but to settle this action on terms with which we are very satisfied as they faced humiliation in court. That is why they delayed this action so long.

We want to take this opportunity to publicly thank Paul Tweed and David Craig of Johnsons Solicitors, and barristers Brett Lockhart and David Ringland QC, who between them have achieved a landmark settlement in the face of years of obstruction and delay by the PSNI. We also want to thank the Police Ombudsman and her team for a painstaking and fair minded investigation. Our thanks also go to The Sunday Times and their legal manager, Alastair Brett, for their support and understanding throughout a very difficult period in our lives.”

Press Statement from Paul Tweed

“While it is regrettable that the PSNI have taken so long to settle this matter, my clients are nonetheless now very satisfied with the outcome, which involved what I believe may have been an unprecedented sum of damages for the circumstances of this category of case.

My clients hope that the stance they have taken and this result will provide some protection for any of their journalistic colleagues who may find themselves in similar circumstances.”

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  • Sir Orde

    Statement from Liam Clarke/Kathy Johnston

    “This settlement follows serious criticism of the PSNI in the Police Ombudsman’s report which the Chief Constable accepted in its entirety. Mrs O’Loan’s report led to the disciplining of several officers, as well as recommending fundamental changes in police procedures.

    This was a case where the police tore up the rule book and rode rough shod over the limited protection afforded to journalists and the press by law. The PSNI had no option but to settle this action on terms with which we are very satisfied as they faced humiliation in court. That is why they delayed this action so long.

    We want to take this opportunity to publicly thank Paul Tweed and David Craig of Johnsons Solicitors, and barristers Brett Lockhart and David Ringland QC, who between them have achieved a landmark settlement in the face of years of obstruction and delay by the PSNI. We also want to thank the Police Ombudsman and her team for a painstaking and fair minded investigation. Our thanks also go to The Sunday Times and their legal manager, Alastair Brett, for their support and understanding throughout a very difficult period in our lives.”

    Press Statement from Paul Tweed

    “While it is regrettable that the PSNI have taken so long to settle this matter, my clients are nonetheless now very satisfied with the outcome, which involved what I believe may have been an unprecedented sum of damages for the circumstances of this category of case.

    My clients hope that the stance they have taken and this result will provide some protection for any of their journalistic colleagues who may find themselves in similar circumstances.”

  • Pete Baker

    Thanks for the extra info, “Sir Orde”.

  • Bohereen

    Talking about jounalists, I can’t find the Sunday Sequence story and link, about Eamon Mallie, born in Silverbridge, and Ed Maloney. Surely it should be yesterday’s page on SOT.

  • what to hell is going on

    ***** Slugger up for an award… “The Cowardice Award” ******

    It would seem that Slugger has taken a huge step backwards again in the face of criticism from the mealy mouthed, cap tipping, gutless wretches that masquerade as the free press and electronic media of “Our wee Ulster”

    Slugger is fine putting up posts for it’s participants to comment on about absolute drivel, complete nonsense that any self respecting blogger wouldn’t wipe their arse with, Slugger is also quite capable of putting up posts about the D.U.P or micro republican or loyalist organizations in full expectation of scornful replies and ridicule being heaped in equal abundance.
    However once the subject ventures anywhere near harsh criticism of mainstream individuals or organizations the alarm bells go off and the site goes into censorship mode and cyber lock-down if not lock-out.

    The thread I am referring to is the radio link concerning the Mallie –v- Maloney piece and it’s subsequent postings on Slugger, with the exception of the 3.00am post by “lies damn lies” nothing else was defamatory or libelous, yet today not only was the questionable 3.00am post removed (btw most of the post was accurate and non-libelous) but the thread in it’s entirety was deleted.

    Shame on you Slugger when I look back through some of the cut and pastes that I have saved from previous Slugger threads, and I see what was posted on this very site about other journalists and commentators, stuff that was not only close to the knuckle but outright slander in the extreme and yet these posts were only tinkered with, and the thread was never ever removed in it’s entirety like it never existed in the first place.
    If Slugger is going to run from questioning the “Great and the Good” and instead concentrating on the weak softer targets then Slugger has run it’s course and really should strongly consider calling it a day before Slugger gets tarnished with the same brush that it is quite happy to see the soft target get painted with, the brush with scorn and ridicule on it.

    thank you…. The Devil

  • bohereen

    So art is reflecting reality?
    Did the Mallie V Maloney link threaten the peace process? Well done, Sunday Sequence. Must be a first.

  • Iron Knee

    I have to agree with The Devil, what an irony that the post about the piece about self-censorship ruling the day was pulled. Why? The Devil is right, far worse has stayed on Slugger for far longer. Surely simple editing as has been done many times before could have solved any issue that was causing nerves. As it is, Maloney’s case is inadvertantly proven!

  • Pete Baker

    Guys

    While I understand the frustration regarding the thread in question, I don’t have an answer for you.. although, from what I recall, regardless of whether anyone was maliciously libellous, the actual topic of the thread was hardly touched.

    Your best bet is to contact Mick directly with your concern.. email address is on the main Slugger page – he usually answers.

    In the meantime could I ask you, ever so politely, to refrain from multiple posting your concern on various threads?

    Thanks

  • Bohereen

    Look, excuse me but I cannot follow what is going on here. My comments appear and disappear, only to resurface later on, like the Cheshire Cat.

    I wanted to Listen Again. I may, or may not, have commented. It doesn’t look as if I shall bother again. I have not posted my concern in multiple topics

  • Pete Baker

    Don’t know about the chesire cat comments, Bohereen.

    But I posted suggested links for you here

  • Bohereen

    Thank you.
    I did not mean to post my questions on multiple threads. My apologies. I see what has happened and it has wiped the Cheshire Cat grin off my face.

    However, one must see the humour in the situation, a topic about journalistic self censorship in the wake of the peace process then being deleted by the managers of a politics board.

    A little story of the internet itself.

  • watcher not a poster

    Dear Devil,

    Whilst you and I would differ politically on many issues but not all, (although due to your hate everything attitude it may be hard to tell) I have to tip my hat to an exellent post on a thought provoking topic.
    Hopefully Mick and the Slugger team will be up to the task of answering it in due course.

    It would be a scandal if jurnos were left unscathed by Slugger.

  • Pete Baker

    For the benefit of those concerned.

    The thread in question is in the process of being tidied up – due to the scarcity of debate on the actual topic – prior to being returned to its rightful place.

    So, you can transfer your concern there when it comes back.

    Now… if we can return to the topic of this thread.