Echo takes nightclub case to Lords

By Dominic Ponsford

The Liverpool Echo is to take its legal fight against the nightclub Cream to the House of Lords.

The move means the legal dispute over confidentiality is likely to rumble on into its third year.

Cream was initially granted a High Court injunction in August 2002 preventing the Echo from printing articles based on documents copied by a former employee of the nightclub.

The Echo took the case to the Court of Appeal and again lost, but it has now been granted leave to appeal to the House of Lords.

Echo managing editor Chris Walker said that the length of the court battle had by no means killed off the news value of the story it is being fought over. “We still have a story to tell,” he said. “Obviously, as always when these things go to the House of Lords, the principle becomes as important as the story itself – but we still think it’s worth telling.”

Under the terms of the first injunction, the Echo cannot reveal any details about the allegations about Cream.

They are based on documents copied by the nightclub’s former finance manager, Chumki Banerjee.

In court, the Echo has argued that disclosure of Banerjee’s allegations was justified in the public interest to correct “a false public image” of the nightclub.

The case hinges on the judges’ interpretation of Section 12 of the Human Rights Act 1998, which was believed to give editors greater power to overturn interim injunctions.

The House of Lords is likely to hear the appeal early next year.

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