As previously reported on HTFP, the Croydon Advertiser’s Gareth Davies, left, was served with the warning by the Metropolitan Police after door-stepping and sending emails to convicted fraudster Neelam Desai.
The Met then rejected a complaint by Gareth about his treatment and the Independent Police Complaints Commission upheld the force’s decision.
But after now considering submissions from Gareth, backed by Advertiser publisher Local World, Mr Justice Picken, of the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court of Justice, has ruled the claim is arguable.
The IPCC and the Met, an interested party for the defendant, must now provide a detailed response to the court by March 2 – within 35 days of the order being issued. A date for the judicial review has not yet been set.
Gareth was originally issued with the Police Information Notice (PIN) – or harassment warning – on 31 March last year while investigating Desai and her alleged involvement in a series of dating website scams.
The Met rejected Gareth’s original complaint saying his attempts to question Desai, who was previously convicted of frauds totalling £230,000, “went beyond what was reasonable”.
The reporter said he had visited Desai’s home once and sent her two emails detailing the allegations against her and requesting a comment.
Gareth and Local World argued that this did not amount to harassment, and that the issuing of harassment warnings to journalists is contrary to Article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights, the right to freedom of expression.