Alex Watts : Hello my name is XXXXX XXXXX I will help you with this. Please note that I am a working Solicitor and may be on and offline as I have to attend Court and meet with clients, even at weekends. As such you may not get an instant response when you reply as this is not an ‘on demand’ live service, but rest assured I will be giving your question my immediate attention upon return. There is no need to wait here, you will get an email when I reply.
Alex Watts : Have the BBC subsequently given you a right of reply please?
Alex Watts : Then based on what you have said you may well have a claim against the BBC
Alex Watts : You should first see a solicitor about writing to the BBC and giving you a right of reply. This is the cheapest and probably the quickest option.
Alex Watts : The reason I say that is because if you intend to issue proceedings then because of the very nature of this, they are specialist proceedings and can only be dealt with in the High Court.
Alex Watts : If there is a trial it would be before a jury and you would need a specialist solicitor and then barrister to represent you in court.
Alex Watts : The cost if you ran this to trial would be around £15,000 or so and you would have to pay private as legal aid is not available. Should you lose at trial then you would also have to pay the costs of the other side, so your exposure is around £30,000
Alex Watts : But from the sound if it you do have a claim but would be worth seeing a solicitor to write to the BBC first given the specialist nature of proceedings and costs involved.
Alex Watts : Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?
Should I have been given a right of reply? Should the B.B.C have kept the interview on line. Have they breached their own guidelines?
Alex Watts :
I can't say what their own guidelines are but if something is said that is untrue, you generally would have a right to reply - just like in a newspaper.
Alex Watts :
Does that help?
should the B.B.C. have kept the interview on line in view of the fact that the interviewer said "that is a very serious allegation and Anne had no part in it ,the other person mentioned did 18 yrs in prison." He then said "I am going to give you the last word but I don't want you to repeat the allegation" My view is that the interviewer acknowledged the serious nature of the allegation and the B.B.C. should not have kept the interview on line .
Alex Watts :
You would have thought that they should have exercised some journalist discretion and removed that part.