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Will ‘Cliff’s Law’ really enhance privacy rights?

Neither the Cliff Richard ruling nor the subsequent eponymous bill are likely to dramatically improve the rights of individuals under investigation against the prying eyes of the media, suggest Gerard Cukier and Rebecca Ryan

6 April 2019

Recent reports suggest that the drone sighting at Gatwick Airport before Christmas which led to over 1,000 delayed flights was caused by an unnamed employee or former employee of Gatwick Airport. The culprit has not yet been named by the papers and, on past form, may never be identified.

However, the same cannot be said for Paul Gait and Elaine Kirk who were initially arrested in relation to the drone sightings but were released without charge after 36 hours in custody. Their release was not before their names, photos and other personal information had become the subject of prurient media attention after a Mail on Sunday headline asked “Are these the morons who ruined Christmas?”

Mr Gait has spoken out about the effect of the public identification of him – including being signed off work and being house bound for two weeks. It remains to be seen if the couple are taking legal proceedings and pressing a case for damages.

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