Veteran sub's compensation bid turned down by Appeal Court

A
veteran newspaper sub-editor who claimed work pressure on the Grimsby
Telegraph’s busy news desk triggered a devastating mental breakdown has
failed in a test-case bid for compensation.

Barry James Green,
who joined the paper as a 17-year-old junior reporter in 1958, argued
that his bosses should have spotted the signs of impending psychiatric
catastrophe and done more to support him.

His claim against Grimsby and Scunthorpe Newspapers was dismissed by a county court judge in March last year.

Now it has been upheld by the Appeal Court.

Green’s
counsel, Julian Matthews, argued before the Appeal Court, headed by
Master of the Rolls, Lord Philips, that Green had given “express
written notice” to his employers that his workload was effecting his
health shortly before he suffered a breakdown in 1999.

Green
claimed the newspaper’s then editor, Peter Moore, instead of acting
sensitively after he sent him a memo complaining of work pressure, had
a week later “torn him off a strip” in front of other news desk staff
for taking a tea break.

Lord Justice Scott Baker, in his
judgment, upheld the county court judge’s view that Moore’s response to
Green’s memo was “reasonable”.

He said the Appeal Court was “unimpressed”

by the arguments that the newspaper should have “reasonably foreseen” the journalist’s impending breakdown.

“The
suggestion that Mr Green’s memo should have put the editor on notice
that he was on a knife-edge from which he could be tipped by an unkind
comment about his coffee break is unrealistic,” he said.

He added he had no doubt that the county court judge had “reached the right decision”.

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