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England and Wales High Court (Queen's Bench Division) Decisions
You are here: BAILII >> Databases >> England and Wales High Court (Queen's Bench Division) Decisions >> The Author of A Blog v Times Newspapers Ltd  EWHC 1358 (QB) (16 June 2009)
Cite as:  EMLR 22,  EWHC 1358 (QB)
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QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
Strand, London, WC2A 2LL
B e f o r e :
| THE AUTHOR OF A BLOG
|- and -
|TIMES NEWSPAPERS LIMITED
Antony White QC and Jonathan Barnes (instructed by Times Newspapers Ltd) for the Defendant
Hearing date: 4 June 2009
Crown Copyright ©
Mr Justice Eady :
" … For a duty of confidentiality to be owed (other than under a contract or statute), the information in question must be of a nature and obtained in circumstances such that any reasonable person in the position of the recipient ought to recognise that it should be treated as confidential. As Cross J observed in Printers and Finishers Limited v Holloway  RPC 239, 256, the law would defeat its own object if it seeks to enforce in this field standards which would be rejected by the ordinary person. Freedom to report the truth is a precious thing both for the liberty of the individual (the libertarian principle) and for the sake of wider society (the democratic principle), and it would be unduly eroded if the law of confidentiality were to prevent a person from reporting facts which a reasonable person in his position would not perceive to be confidential."
7. Information which comes into the possession of the police should be treated as confidential. It should not be used for personal benefit and nor should it be divulged to other parties except in the proper course of police duty. Similarly, officers should respect, as confidential, information about force policy and operations unless authorised to disclose it in the course of their duties.
12. Whether on or off duty, police officers should not behave in a way which is likely to bring discredit upon the police service."
Police officers treat information with respect and access or disclose it only in the proper course of police duties.
Police officers behave in a manner which does not discredit the police service or undermine public confidence in it, whether on or off duty."
"26. Publication of the identification of the identity [sic] of the Claimant as the author of the Blog would be likely to cause him significant damage.
27. Firstly, while it appears to be true that the Force has been notified of his identity by the Defendants (in breach of confidence), the Claimant believes that if the matter is subject to publicity in the media this could lead to more serious disciplinary charges being brought – on the basis that the publicity itself might be regarded as damaging to the force and having brought it into disrepute.
28. Secondly, the Claimant has no reason to believe that his identity as the author of the Blog is known beyond his immediate supervisor and the Professional Standards Department of the Force. If this became now [sic] beyond this was group [sic], the Claimant considers that there would be inevitable disruption to his work as a detective. In particular, the Claimant is concerned that his identification as the author of the Blog might have an adverse effect on his working relationships and could make it very difficult for him to carry on his job. Some of his colleagues may be hostile to the Blog and may have objections to working with him as a result. Moreover, if his picture is published, it will also make it far harder for him to undertake the surveillance and informant handling work for which he is trained."