Police chief loses Hamiltons fight
A SENIOR police officer today lost his High Court libel action over newspaper articles published after the investigation into false allegations of sexual assault against Neil and Christine Hamilton.
Christopher Miller, 47, now a superintendent with Hertfordshire Police, had claimed damages from Associated Newspapers, publishers of the Daily Mail and the Evening Standard, over two September 2001 articles which, he said, contained "devastating" references to him.
The newspapers’ case was that Mr Miller had failed repeatedly in his duties. Giving his ruling today, Mr Justice Eady, sitting in London, said Associated Newspapers had "succeeded in proving that the defamatory allegations against Mr Miller were substantially true".
He added: "It was certainly not a model of investigative journalism, but it was a legitimate story for the press to cover.
"The articles were based on leaked information which was partial and inaccurate, thus they may have got it right more by luck than judgment, but that makes no difference to the outcome. The claim is dismissed and there will be judgment for the defendant."
The stories at the centre of the case concerned the investigation of claims by Nadine Milroy-Sloan which resulted in the Hamiltons being arrested and interviewed by police in London. Milroy-Sloan was later jailed for attempting to pervert the course of justice.
Stephen Suttle QC, for Mr Miller, told the judge that each article put the blame for the supposed "shambles" squarely on his client.
They also attacked him in relation to an earlier investigation of allegations by a Miss B that she had been drugged, abducted and raped in October 1998 by three men - whose trial was later stayed as an abuse of the process of the court.
But Mr Justice Eady said Mr Miller’s wide-ranging responsibilities meant he was "amongst those responsible for important failures which included delays, management failures and poor decision making that led to the Hamiltons being arrested when this should never have happened".
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