LAW REPORT v 10 October 1995: Information order despite risk of violence

Coca-Cola Co and another v Gilbey and others; Chancery Division (Mr Justice Lightman); 15 September 1995

The public interest and the interest of a plaintiff whose rights had been infringed in obtaining information from a party to the infringement outweighed the interest of the infringer in avoiding any risk of violence to which he might be exposed by providing the information.

Mr Justice Lightman dismissed an application by the 16th defendant, Periclis Pericleous, also known as Peter Smith, for a discharge of an Anton Piller order requiring him to provide certain information.

The plaintiffs, on discovering a large-scale criminal organisation manufacturing and selling counterfeit Coca-Cola and Schweppes lemonade, commenced proceedings for injunctions restraining infringement of trademark and passing off and damages. The plaintiff obtained an Anton Piller order against Mr Pericleous requiring him to allow the plaintiffs to search his premises, to deliver up certain items and documents and to give information relating to the whereabouts of items, documents, addresses used by the organisation and the names of those involved.

Mr Pericleous complied with the order save for providing the required information. He applied for a discharge of that part of the order on the grounds that the information would incriminate him in criminal proceedings and his and his family's safety would be at risk because those involved had a propensity towards violence.

David Stockill (Glaisyers, Birmingham) for Mr Pericleous; Peter Leaver QC and Michael Tapping (Rouse & Co) for the plaintiffs.

Mr Justice Lightman said that section 72 of the Supreme Court Act 1981 provided that the fact that compliance with an order might expose a person to criminal proceedings for a related offence should not excuse that person from answering or complying with the order if the order was made in proceedings for infringement of trade mark or passing off. The first ground therefore had no substance.

Mr Pericleous applied to give further evidence about the risk of violence in the absence of the plaintiffs and their legal representatives. In adversarial litigation a judge must only receive and act on one party's evidence if it was at the same time made available to the other party. A judge could not receive or act on evidence which was not then or later to be made available to the other party or the other party's lawyers and experts. That course was totally objectionable to the court.

Accepting the evidence at face value and taking it as established that there was a real risk of physical violence the question raised was whether the existence of such a risk was a sufficient ground for discharging the order for disclosure. The interest of the plaintiffs in obtaining the information must be balanced against the interest of Mr Pericleous in avoiding the risk of violence to himself and his family.

In any ordinary case where the plaintiff had a pressing need for the information, the existence of the risk of violence against the potential informant should not outweigh the interest of the plaintiff in obtaining the information. The rule of law required that the law should not be deflected from following its ordinary course.

In a case such as the present where the evidence established that the person possessed of information was a party to the infringement, the fact that his associates had a propensity towards violence could not exempt him from the ordinary obligation imposed on such a tortfeasor to provide the information necessary to protect and preserve the interests of the victim.

The public interest likewise required the same result. In particular there was public interest (1) in the suppression as soon as possible of the fraud on the public; (2) that tortfeasors should not have the comfort that they can avoid the obligation to make disclosure by pleading risk of danger to themselves; (3) that men of violence should not be able by threats to silence those with knowledge of their wrongdoing; and that (4) the evil men of violence who ran the organisation should be identified and promptly and effectively dealt with.

The interest of the plaintiffs and the public in the provision of the information outweighed the interest of Mr Pericleous in avoiding any risk of violence to which disclosure might expose him. The order for disclosure must be complied with without any further delay.

Ying Hui Tan, Barrister

Suggested Topics
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Compensation and Benefits Manager - Brentwood - Circa £60,000

£60000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Compensation and Benefits Manager - Compensat...

Finance Manager - Recruitment Business (Media & Entertainment)

£28000 - £35000 per annum + negotiable: Sauce Recruitment: We have an exciting...

HR Advisor - North London / North West London

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Advisor - North London...

Finance Manager - Recruitment Business (Media & Entertainment)

£28000 - £32000 per annum + negotiable: Sauce Recruitment: We have an exciting...

Day In a Page

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes