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Misuse of private information claim brought against the BBC

01 April 2009

In one breach of confidence case, the claimant was filmed by the BBC as he walked towards Wolverhampton Crown Court where he is the Bailiff. The film clip was then used in two Midlands Today News broadcasts on 28 January 2009 to illustrate a report about the trial of a surgeon accused of indecently assaulting 5 boys some years previously during the course of treatment. The claimant’s face was obscured but the clear impression was given that he was one of the victims of the assault and that he was a witness giving evidence in court that day. The claimant was identifiable because his wife was filmed walking alongside him with her face clearly visible. The impression given by the BBC to the audience was in fact misleading, as our claimant had nothing to do with the surgeon's case. A claim for misuse of private information (albeit false information) was brought by RJW against the BBC. After correspondence and negotiation it was settled on terms whereby the claimant received £3,500 damages as well as a letter of apology from the BBC.