Woman who stole £1,000 from refugee has legal claim against Liverpool Echo over court report thrown out

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A convicted fraudster  has failed in an attempt to sue a regional newspaper for defamation, harassment, misuse of private information and negligence over a report of a court hearing at which she was sentenced for theft.

Camille Richardson took action against Trinity Mirror Merseyside Ltd,
publisher of the Liverpool Echo, and Neil Docking, a reporter with the
newspaper, over its reporting of a hearing at Liverpool Crown Court on
May 20 of a hearing at which she was sentenced for stealing £985 from a
Syrian refugee.

But Mr Justice Soole dismissed her claims, saying they had no prospect
of success, and also rejected her applications for an anonymity order
and for injunctive relief against the newspaper.

The judge said Ms Richardson was convicted of theft in her absence
following a trial at Liverpool Crown Court in December last year.

On 20 May she appeared at the same court for a hearing at which she was
given a suspended prison sentence and ordered to do unpaid work and pay
compensation to her victim.

A report of the hearing appeared on the Liverpool Echo website the same
day, under the headline “Woman stole £1,000 from Syrian refugee and blew it on ‘selfish’ shopping spree at Liverpool ONE”.

Richardson launched her claim on 25 May, and alleged that various
details about her – references to where she was now living and working –
were included in the reports even though the newspaper had given her
assurances that they would not because it was aware that she had been
the victim of domestic violence and feared for her safety because of her
abusive ex-partner.

The newspaper and Docking argued that the articles were fair and
accurate reports of proceedings in the Crown Court and enjoyed absolute
or qualified privilege.

Mr Justice Soole struck Ms Richardson’s claim out, saying none of her
claims and causes of action had any prospect of success.

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