Right to protect source is upheld

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POLICE yesterday failed in an attempt to force a newspaper journalist to hand over details of the source of a story.

Norfolk Police asked Norwich Crown Court to force Eastern Daily Press reporter Adrian Galvin to hand over notes and other documents used for a story published last August about public funds allegedly being wasted on a four-year inquiry into allegations of corruption against three detectives. In the report Mr Galvin published the name of a police informant.

As a result of a police inquiry, two of the detectives were cleared of any wrongdoing. The third was cautioned by police for a minor breach of disciplinary regulations and has now retired.

Judge Michael Hyam dismissed the application after a day-long hearing and ruled in favour of the Eastern Daily Press, which is based in Norwich, and Mr Galvin.

Police had argued that they needed Mr Galvin's notes to establish whether any offence under the Official Secrets Act had been committed by the person who supplied information for the story. They also argued that the report was in danger of undermining the police's informant system.

Mr Galvin and the Eastern Daily Press had argued that it was vital for sources for newspaper stories to be protected.