A choose’s rejection of a police bid to pressure a reporter to disclose his sources has been hailed as a “hopeful beacon” by the National Union of Journalists (NUJ).
Chris Mullin, 74, won’t have handy over his notes after he challenged West Midlands Police’s application to pressure him to reveal supply materials courting again to 1985 and 1986, when he investigated the 1974 Birmingham pub bombings.
The NUJ stated the case had “threatened press freedom” and that the choose’s ruling reveals he recognised the significance of defending journalistic sources.
West Midlands Police used the Terrorism Act to launch its unsuccessful bid.
At the Old Bailey on Tuesday morning, the Recorder of London Judge Mark Lucraft stated: “I decline to grant the production order sought.”
Michelle Stanistreet, the NUJ’s normal secretary, stated: “This judgment is a hopeful beacon at a time when we rely more than ever on dependable news, despite journalists facing mounting legal challenges.
“Few reporters have been more courageous and dogged than Chris Mullin, nor have they been so spectacularly vindicated.
“This case threatened press freedom and amounted to another attempt to criminalise the legitimate actions of journalists.
“In refusing this production order, the judge has recognised the principle that the NUJ will always defend – that protecting sources underpins every journalist’s ability to report.
“I hope that West Midlands Police now chooses to devote its many powers to amassing sufficient credible evidence to secure a conviction for those terrible bombings.”
In his ebook, Error Of Judgement, and a sequence of documentaries, Mr Mullin, a former MP and minister, helped expose one of many worst miscarriages of justice, resulting in the discharge of the Birmingham Six after their convictions have been quashed in 1991.
Some 21 individuals have been killed within the assault on two pubs on November 21 1974.