Supreme Court dismisses police appeal and refuses to allow secret evidence in application for production order against Sky News

The Met arrested two secret service officers in March 2011 for alleged breaches of the Official Secrets Act 1989. The Met believed that both officers had long-standing relationships with one of Sky’s journalists and alleged that they had leaked information from COBRA meetings, posing a threat to national security overseas and in the UK. This information was then alleged to have appeared verbatim on Sky News’s live broadcast ticker.

The Met made an application for a production order requiring Sky to hand over a wide range of documents that it said would assist with the investigation. The application relied upon ‘secret evidence’ not disclosed to Sky, but that was disclosed to the court in a closed hearing at the Old Bailey. Sky pointed out that it could not properly respond to the application without full disclosure by the Met of the evidence in support. Nevertheless, HHJ Paget QC granted the Met’s application and ordered Sky to hand over the requested documents.

Sky successfully challenged this decision by way of judicial review. The Administrative Court ruled that it is a fundamental principle of fairness for a party to have access to all the evidence on which the case against him is based. The Met appealed to the Supreme Court…

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