Freelance journalist Shiv Malik has been given a week to hand over material relating to interviews he conducted with terrorism suspect Hassan Butt.
But three judges sitting at the High Court today ruled that he does not have to hand over original notebooks – but copies – and that he can blank out information which would identify confidential sources other than Butt.
The latest ruling follows a judicial review hearing last month at which Malik resisted a production order made by Greater Manchester Police in March forcing him to hand over all source material for his book – Leaving al Qaeda: Inside The Mind Of A British Jihadist.
Last week the judges issued a ruling saying that the original order was too wide – because it would compel Malik to identify confidential sources – and ordered that it be narrowed.
This morning they ordered that a revised production order requested by Greater Manchester Police be granted in full.
Lord Justice Dyson, who was sitting with Mr Justice Pitchford and Mr Justice Ouseley, said: ‘In our view the form proposed by the police is the correct form of order, it excluded all material from sources other than Mr Butt – it applies only to material supplied by Mr Butt.
‘The originals of the tapes, video and audio transcripts should be handed over as should hard copies of computer generated material.”
Malik’s legal team had argued that ‘intermingling’could mean that this material could contain comments – made either by Malik or Butt – which would identify other confidential sources.
But the judges said there was no evidence that such material needed to be removed.
They ruled that copies of Malik’s notebooks should be handed over – but that material identifying confidential sources could be blanked out.
They ordered that material should be handed over within seven days – but said Malik could ask for more time from Judge Goldstone – who heard Malik’s original challenge against the production order at Manchester Crown Court in March.
The judges said today that Malik’s claim last week that he had won a victory for press freedom was wide of the mark.
Lord Justice Dyson said: ‘He’s achieved very little by these judicial review proceedings. It’s true that we decide that the order provided by Judge Goldstone was somewhat too wide. In our judgment if that was the only complaint that Mr Malik had about the order judicial review proceedings were inappropriate. He should have attempted negotiations with the police to see whether agreement could be reached.
‘The real thrust of these proceedings was a frontal assault on the order itselfâ€¦In short it is our view that these proceedings should not have been brought.”
He ordered that Malik, who has been financially supported by the National Union of Journalists and the Sunday Times, will have to pay both his own costs and those of Greater Manchester Police. The judges called for an interim payment of £15,000 to be handed over.
The court heard that Malik’s notes are needed because they relate to a terrorism trial due to start in September involving a defendant only described as ‘A”.