Marketing Week has been obliged to hand back to Camelot a leaked document whose disclosure in the magazine led to a national outcry earlier this year, over the 40 per cent bonuses the lottery operator was paying some of its top executives (MW May 29).
The decision was forced on the magazine after three Court of Appeal judges turned down an appeal against an earlier judgement (MW July 10) requiring the documents’ surrender. They also refused leave to appeal to the House of Lords, the supreme court of appeal in the UK.
“A judgement like this undermines the position of journalists in general because it has a chilling effect upon future sources, who will be concerned about retaining their anonymity,” says Marketing Week editor Stuart Smith. “It also shows a naivety on the part of judges. The suggestion – in the conclusion of the judgement – that the same employee or source might go on to reveal the name of a public figure who has won a huge Lottery prize, is ludicrous.”
“The document was handed over only because we had exhausted all legal remedies. The papers were lodged in a safe at our solicitor’s office, as an express condition imposed on us by a lower court. We could hardly expect our solicitor to commit contempt and go to prison,” he adds.
The MW story prompted the intervention of Prime Minister Tony Blair and National Heritage Secretary Chris Smith, after it revealed some Camelot directors were to pocket pay rises of up to 90 per cent against a background of declining Lottery revenues and profits. Four directors, including chief executive Tim Holley, came close to resigning. A number of senior Camelot executives have since left, including security director Neil Dickens, who was in charge of Camelot’s unsuccessful attempt to unearth the mole who leaked the documents (MW August 7).