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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 February 2007, 13:00 GMT
Reporter fights Brady story move
Robin Ackroyd
Robin Ackroyd wrote the story for the Mirror in 1999
A journalist has fought off a renewed bid to reveal his source for an article he wrote about the care of Moors murderer Ian Brady.

Robin Ackroyd's 1999 Daily Mirror story made allegations about mistreatment of Brady at Ashworth Hospital, Merseyside.

Mersey Care NHS Trust wanted the Court of Appeal to overturn a High Court ruling won by Mr Ackroyd in February last year to keep his source secret.

But it has been ruled that the original judgment still stands.

Jeremy Dear, general secretary of the National Union of Journalists, says that the ruling is "a landmark victory".

But Mersey Care said it was "surprised and disappointed" by the Court of Appeal's decision and would be seeking permission to appeal to the House of Lords.

This matter has wasted a huge amount of my time. Frankly, I've had better decades
Robin Ackroyd

The High Court had rejected argument by the trust, which runs Ashworth Hospital where Brady has been held since 1985, that the public interest in a journalist's right to protect his sources was overridden by patient confidentiality.

It was not disputed that the hospital had a legitimate aim in seeking to establish the identity of the employee who had leaked information.

But the issue was whether there was a "pressing social need" for disclosure of the source.

In the High Court, Mr Justice Tugendhat said that to require disclosure for an article published more than six years ago, would not be proportionate.

On Wednesday, The Master of the Rolls, Sir Anthony Clarke, Lord Neuberger and Lord Justice Leveson said that the judge took on the key considerations and they did not think there was any basis on which they could properly interfere with the balance he struck.

Ian Brady
Ian Brady has been on hunger strike at Ashworth since 1999

Some of the information disclosed to Mr Ackroyd came from Brady's medical records on a confidential database known as the Patient Administrative and Clinical Information Service (PACIS).

It formed the basis of a story published in the Mirror in December 1999.

The paper fought unsuccessfully to the House of Lords to avoid having to disclose its source - Mr Ackroyd - who then became the target of the action.

Brady, 69, who was jailed for life with Myra Hindley in 1966 for the murders of five children, has claimed that the hospital used "the legal pretext of doctor-patient confidentiality" to conceal conditions at Ashworth.

Mr Ackroyd said: "This matter has wasted a huge amount of my time. Frankly, I've had better decades.

"However I have repeatedly made very clear my position about the protection of confidential journalistic sources. I have remained resilient throughout."


SEE ALSO
New battle for Brady journalist
23 Oct 06 |  Manchester
Brady writer keeps source secret
07 Feb 06 |  Manchester
Killer Brady loses legal battle
22 Jul 04 |  Manchester
Still missing after 40 years
16 Jun 04 |  Manchester

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