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Once a bank has filed a report to the authorities, it is very difficult to prosecute it or its executives, even if it carries on helping with the suspicious activities and collecting the fees.
He told an audience at Hay-on-Wye: “If I asked you what is the most corrupt place on Earth you might tell me well it’s Afghanistan, maybe Greece, Nigeria, the South of Italy and I will tell you it’s the UK.
Press Gazette revealed earlier this month how two phone-calls to a convicted fraudster and one doorstep visit saw Croydon Advertiser journalist Gareth Davies served with a Prevention of Harassment Letter by police.
Now Florida-based UK journalist David Marchant has revealed how he was given a harassment warning by the Met as a result of his investigation into an alleged £100m investment fraud. He insists that he has never contacted in any way the person he is alleged to have harassed.
A hot topic this month has been ex-Formula One boss Max Mosley’s bid to persuade European judges that the UK media should give people prior notification of stories affecting their privacy.
He wants the European Court of Human Rights to require a new legal obligation to be imposed on the press to contact individuals pre-publication so they can seek an injunction before privacy is lost.
But it is a curious paradox that while the media face demands for a new duty to give notice so that litigants can dash to the High Court for a gagging order, many litigants are not complying with existing legal obligations to give the media prior notification that they are applying for an injunction.
The first that many newspapers and broadcasters know of injunctions is when they slide slyly off the newsroom fax.
Only yesterday, the Leicester Mercury received an injunction of which it had had no prior notice in a family case. The order required the disclosure and delivery-up of certain documents the paper was alleged to have received – about which its actually believes it knows nothing – and to provide a sworn statement about the position.
The injunction also gagged it and “any associated newspaper” from publishing anything that might lead to the identification of two particular children in any context, about whom it believes it knows nothing.
The order was not directed at any individual or corporation but simply at “the Leicester Mercury”, which is not a ‘legal person’ in law, and required the steps to be taken “within 48″ [sic].
At the time of writing, the situation is yet to be clarified but serious questions remain as to whether the local authority that successfully applied for the order had drawn the court’s attention to the prior-notification procedures set out in S.12(2) of the Human Rights Act.