Channel 5 pays damages to woman on Can't Pay? We'll Take it Away'

Channel 5 pays ‘substantial’ damages to woman who appeared on Can’t Pay? We’ll Take it Away’ after she took legal action over ‘misuse of private information’ when she was filmed in row over unpaid parking fine

  • Melanie Gray had taken legal action against Channel 5 Broadcasting over filming
  • She complained about a misuse of her private information on April 12, 2017 show
  • Her barrister told the High Court the dispute had been resolved by an agreement
  • He said the defendants denied liability but offered to pay ‘substantial damages’

Channel 5 bosses have apologised and agreed to pay damages to a woman featured in an episode of the television programme Can’t Pay? We’ll Take it Away! a High Court judge has been told.

Melanie Gray had taken legal action against Channel 5 Broadcasting, Brinkworth Films and Direct Collection Bailiffs, after complaining about the misuse of her private information in respect of the filming, making and ‘multiple broadcasts’ of an episode of the programme, Mr Justice Jay heard.

A barrister representing Ms Gray on Tuesday told the judge at a High Court hearing in London that the dispute had been resolved by agreement.

William Bennett QC said the defendants denied liability but had offered to resolve the claim on terms which involved the payment of ‘substantial damages’.

Mr Bennett said Ms Gray had featured in an episode first broadcast on April 12, 2017.

Melanie Gray had taken legal action against Channel 5 Broadcasting, Brinkworth Films and Direct Collection Bailiffs, after complaining about the misuse of her private information in respect of the filming, making and ‘multiple broadcasts’ of an episode of the programme, Mr Justice Jay heard (file photo)

He said Ms Gray’s elder son had incurred parking fines using a car registered to his father – Ms Gray’s ex-partner.

Two High Court enforcement agents had attended Ms Gray’s home in October 2016, to enforce a ‘writ of control’ against her ex-partner, with a film crew in attendance.

Ms Gray had ‘made it clear’ that she did not want to be filmed, said Mr Bennett, and the film crew had withdrawn from the property.

But, he said, the enforcement agents had worn bodycams and radio microphones and were recording video footage and audio of what was taking place in Ms Gray’s home.

Footage and audio recordings were incorporated into an episode – which also included film obtained by the film crew.

Mr Bennett said Channel 5 had confirmed that the programme had been broadcast to more than 5.5 million people in a form in which Ms Gray’s face was shown and subsequently to a further 700,000 people in a form in which her face was blurred and her name removed.

‘The broadcast of the programme has caused the claimant upset and distress,’ said Mr Bennett.

‘The claimant’s case is that the programme wrongly revealed matters which were private to her and which took place in her home.

‘It is the claimant’s case that the filming of her within her home and subsequent publication of the private information obtained in that way to over six million people amounted to a grave misuse of her private information.’

A barrister representing Ms Gray on Tuesday told the judge at a High Court hearing in London that the dispute had been resolved by agreement (file photo)

He added: ‘The defendants deny liability for the claimant’s case but I am pleased to report that the parties have been able to resolve their dispute by agreement.

‘The claimant has accepted an offer made by the defendants to resolve her claim on terms which will involve the payment of substantial damages to the claimant as well as her reasonable legal costs of raising the claim.’

Tim James-Matthews, who represented Channel 5 and Brinkworth Films, told the judge that his clients were prepared to accept that they may have got the ‘balance wrong’.

‘It is my clients’ case that they have at all times believed that this programme forms part of a series of real public interest, where each of the stories involves a careful balancing exercise between matters of public interest and the right to respect for privacy,’ he said.

‘They are prepared to accept, however, that on this occasion, in relation to the claimant, they may well have got that balance wrong and for that reason they are prepared to settle her claim and also apologise to her for the distress caused to her by the broadcast of the episode in question.’

Channel 5 bosses have apologised and paid damages to a woman featured in an episode of a television programme called Can’t Pay? We’ll Take it Away!, a High Court judge has been told.

Melanie Gray took legal action against Channel 5 Broadcasting, Brinkworth Films and Direct Collection Bailiffs after complaining about the misuse of her private information in respect of the filming, making and ‘multiple broadcasts’ of an episode of the programme, Mr Justice Jay heard.

A barrister representing Ms Gray on Tuesday told the judge, at a High Court hearing in London, that the dispute had been resolved by agreement.

William Bennett QC said the three defendants denied liability but had offered to resolve the claim on terms which involved the payment of ‘substantial damages’.

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