Byline Respond to Impress's First Arbitration Decision

13 July 2017

Byline was one of the first publishers to sign up to Impress because of its independence and compliance with Leveson recommendations for a press regulator, and we are firm supporters of the arbitral system

Successfully Defended

We are happy that this first arbitration process has defended us against Mr Rice’s claims for harassment and malicious falsehood and vindicated Byline by finding its first Tweet accurate; that the Claimant – then investigations editor for the Mail on Sunday – appeared as top contact of private investigator Steve Whittamore after he had been charged for blagging.

As we have proved through a series of invoices from the Daily Mail and the Mail on Sunday, Mr Whittamore continued to be employed for a gross fee of at least £150,000 by both newspapers. Whittamore’s email address at the time was

In the process of our investigations Byline have also discovered that Mr Rice appeared in  Whittamore’s 2003 contact list, seized during an ICO raid, in which he was associated with Express Newspapers. 

Remaining Appeal

On the remaining claim for defamation on Tweet 2,  Byline believes that we did not have sufficient opportunity to mount a Section 2 and Section 4 defence – that it was substantially accurate and in the public interest. 

We are currently seeking legal advice on appealing this part of the decision to further establish the benchmarks for publishers. We will be launching our crowdfund for this very soon

Meanwhile, this one adverse decision out of the four complaints will no more deter Byline Investigates from seeking the truth of the use of private detectives at the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday than the legal threats earlier this year from Mssrs Dacre, Wright and Hartley.

Byline Investigations has written over 20 stories about this and hacking allegations around the Sun. Among the 40,000 words written so far in our published pieces not one has been proved to be wrong. 

Here is a list of our Mail stories so far:

The Latest piece published yesterday names senior editors who used ELI – a private detective firm associated with phone hacking: Exclusive: The current editors of The Sun and The Daily Telegraph are among those who paid illegal blaggers

For the background. 

• Part 1: Daily Mail Faces Fresh Blagging Scandal

• Part 2: Daily Mail ‘Must Have Known’ Says Blagging Scandal Private Detective

• Part 3: Mail Blags Byline Over Illegal Spying

• Part 4: Byline Investigates The Daily Mail: The Story Paul Dacre Tried To Suppress

• Part 5: The Mail’s Secret Million Pounds Dossier Exposed

• Part 6: Daily Mail Splashed Out £100k On Private Investigators Linked To Phone Hacking

• Part 7: Daily Mail Denies Phone Hacking After Pi Revelations