Investigative journalist Robin Ackroyd is to object to a new move in the House of Lords by Mersey Care NHS Trust in its battle to force him to reveal the sources from which he obtained confidential medical reports on Moors murderer Ian Brady.
The trust wants the Lords to reinstate an earlier ruling that it is entitled to be told who the documents were obtained from without the need for a full hearing.
But after preliminary consideration, Lords Nicholls, Hobhouse and Millett ruled last week that Ackroyd should be given an opportunity to object to the latest moves by the trust and have set a 14 August deadline for him to make his objections.
Ackroyd says he will certainly object to the move, which would deny him the right for his case to be heard in open court. “They don’t seem able to accept the decision of the Court of Appeal and are still trying to prevent me speaking in open court, almost four years after this case started,” he told Press Gazette. “I’ve had a look at their petition and I’m relaxed about it.”
Last October, the High Court ordered him to reveal to the trust who gave him the documents which he made available to the Daily Mirror for a piece in 1999. A milestone victory in the Court of Appeal in May overturned that decision, paving the way for the case to go to full trial.
In the Court of Appeal in May, Lord Justice May said: “It would be an exceptional case indeed if a journalist were ordered to disclose the identity of his sources without the facts of his case being fully examined.”
The affair has already run up £120,000 in legal costs.
By Roger Pearson