The Metropolitan Police has rescinded the Police Information Notice given to Croydon Advertiser chief reporter Gareth Davies in 2014 after he doorstepped and sent two emails to convicted fraudster Neelam Desai.
The Met and the IPCC will also pay the majority of the legal costs for the proceedings and will write to the College of Policing to request a review of the guidance on the use of PINs in relation to journalists.
The force previously said Gareth’s attempts to question Desai, who was previously jailed for 30 months for frauds totalling £230,000, “went beyond what was reasonable” and the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) later upheld that decision.
Gareth, above left, backed by the Advertiser’s publisher Local World then new owner Trinity Mirror, challenged the ruling and, earlier this year, a High Court judge granted permission for a judicial review.
They had argued 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.
Said Gareth of the Met’s decision: “I am pleased the police have agreed to revoke the harassment warning and relieved that this matter has finally been resolved.
“I behaved as journalists across the country do on a daily basis but was issued with a warning by the police, which could have appeared on my criminal record, without officers conducting any form of investigation to establish whether the allegations were true.
“I’m glad that, in agreeing to write to the College of Policing, the Met and the IPCC have acknowledged that the use of PINs in relation to journalists needs to be reviewed. As my case has demonstrated, PINs can be used to impede responsible journalism.
“It’s unfortunate it had to reach this point but this settlement is a step in the right direction.”