Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Sunday Times loses libel disclosure battle with police

Judge: Mr.Justice Tughendhat

The Sunday Times has lost a court battle to force the commissioner of the Metropolitan police and the Serious Organised Crime Agency to disclose confidential documents which the newspaper could use as evidence in a libel trial next month.

Times Newspapers, the publisher of the Times and Sunday Times, is being sued for libel by David Hunt, over the accusation of committing "very serious criminal offences" and who the paper claims "has not been brought to justice". According to a high court judgment made public on Tuesday, Scotland Yard and Soca have "admitted that [Hunt] is the head of an organised crime group".

The Sunday broadsheet is accused of libelling Hunt stating he was "guilty of very serious criminal offences committed by himself and others whom he organises".

The Sunday Times wants to use the confidential documents, some of which are alleged to have been leaked to the paper by a police whistleblower, as part of its defence in the libel trial, listed to be heard at the high court next month.