View all newsletters
Sign up for our free email newsletters

Fighting for quality news media in the digital age.

  1. Media Law
December 6, 2013

Former Times legal chief suspended by tribunal after paper deceived High Court to expose Nightjack police blogger

By Dominic Ponsford

Former legal manager of The Times Alastair Brett has been suspended as a solicitor for six months over the paper's handling of the Nightjack case.
It stems from his handling of an episode in June 2009 in which police blogger RIchard Horton sought an injunction to prevent The Times from revealing his identity.
The Leveson Inquiry heard that The Times illegally hacked Horton's Yahoo account in 2009 but that this was concealed from Mr Justice Eady during the High Court hearing for Horton's injunction
The inquiry heard that Horton's lawyers, including Olswang partner Dan Tench, raised concerns over email hacking on six occasions, including in front of Justice Eady.
But The Times insisted the story was derived "from a self-starting journalistic endeavour" and a "largely deductive exercise" that began when NightJack won the Orwell Prize in April 2009.
Then Times editor James Harding said he was not aware the litigation was taking place. But he took the decision to publish the story exposing the real identity of Nightjack.
The Guardian reports that the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal found that Brett "knowingly allowed the High Court to be misled" prompting his suspension for six months.
The paper reports tribunal chairman Andrew Spooner's comments: "The allegations are serious – a high court, a claimant were misled and possibly the outcome of a high court trial may have been affected by this case. We balance this against the good character, the fact that he has had a long and respected career."

Content from our partners
New technology from EX.CO helps publishers double on-site video revenue
Five ways to fail in media job interviews
How Germany's Ippen.Media mastered content planning across 86 newsrooms

Topics in this article : , ,

Email to point out mistakes, provide story tips or send in a letter for publication on our "Letters Page" blog

Select and enter your email address Weekly insight into the big strategic issues affecting the future of the news industry. Essential reading for media leaders every Thursday. Your morning brew of news about the world of news from Press Gazette and elsewhere in the media. Sent at around 10am UK time. Our weekly does of strategic insight about the future of news media aimed at US readers. A fortnightly update from the front-line of news and advertising. Aimed at marketers and those involved in the advertising industry.
  • Business owner/co-owner
  • CEO
  • COO
  • CFO
  • CTO
  • Chairperson
  • Non-Exec Director
  • Other C-Suite
  • Managing Director
  • President/Partner
  • Senior Executive/SVP or Corporate VP or equivalent
  • Director or equivalent
  • Group or Senior Manager
  • Head of Department/Function
  • Manager
  • Non-manager
  • Retired
  • Other
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
Thank you

Thanks for subscribing.

Websites in our network