Croydon Advertiser Reporter Granted Permission for Judicial Review of PIN Harassment Warning

Croydon Advertiser chief reporter Gareth Davies has been granted permission for a judicial review of Independent Police Complaints Commission decision to uphold a harassment warning issued to him in the form of a Police Information Notice.

After considering submissions from Mr Davies, backed by then Advertiser publisher Local World, and the IPCC, Mr Justice Picken, of the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court of Justice, ruled the claim is arguable, the Croydon Advertiser reported.

The IPCC and the Metropolitan Police, an interested party for the defendant, must now provide a detailed response to the court by 2 March – within 35 days of the order being issued. A date for the judicial review has not yet been set.

Mr Davies was issued with a harassment warning in the form of a Police Information Notice in March 2014 after investigating allegations of fraud against a local woman.

The Met’s decision to reject his complaint was upheld by the IPCC in June 2015, prompting the News Media Association to write to the IPCC asking it to reconsider its decision.

In the letter, NMA chief executive David Newell said: “It is a matter of the deepest concern to us and our members that journalists complying with their ethical and legal responsibility of seeking a right of reply to, or comment on, a story they are investigating could have PINs imposed on them for doing nothing more than complying with the requirements to which they will be held by the Courts as a matter of defamation or by IPSO as a matter of accuracy.”

Mr Davies and Local World claim that decision was irrational and unlawful. A petition calling on the Met to rescind the PIN has been signed by 1,800 people. They have sought a judicial review to obtain a declaration from the IPCC that the PIN should not have been issued, that the IPCC’s decision be quashed and that it should be directed to instruct the Met to remove the warning from its records or reinvestigate the matter.