Statement in Open Court
Jack Bayliss and Independent News and Media Limited
5 July 2006
My Lord, in this action I appear for the Claimant, Judge Advocate Jack Bayliss.
Judge Advocate Bayliss is an Assistant Judge Advocate General (a full time judicial appointment), having been appointed to that office in 1996. Prior to that he had been for two years the Chief Naval Judge Advocate while still serving in the Royal Navy. He was appointed an Assistant Recorder in 1994 and a Recorder in 1999. He is authorised to try serious sexual cases in the Crown Court and in Courts-Martial.
My friend Mr Julian Darrall, appears for the Defendant, the publisher of The Independent, a national daily newspaper with a wide circulation throughout the jurisdiction.
In April 2006, Judge Advocate Bayliss presided over the Court Martial of Flight Lieutenant Malcolm Kendall-Smith, who was convicted on five charges of failing to comply with lawful orders for refusing to serve in Iraq. Flight Lieutenant Kendall-Smith was sentenced to eight months in jail and was dismissed from the Royal Air Force. The case attracted very substantial media attention worldwide.
On 14 April 2006, the day after the verdict, The Independent published an article by columnist Matthew Norman, headlined "Justice never had a hearing in this case." The article was also published on the Independent's website and was reproduced on a number of other websites both in the United Kingdom and overseas.
The article made a scathing attack on the manner in which the Court Martial had been handled by Judge Advocate Bayliss, suggesting that he had presided over a "kangaroo court", had unfairly refused to allow Flight Lieutenant Kendall-Smith to put forward a defence and had not acted with the professionalism, integrity and independence expected of the judiciary. These suggestions were false. As the Defendant and Mr Norman now acknowledge, there is no reason to question Judge Advocate Bayliss's professionalism, integrity or independence. Contrary to what the article suggested, Flight Lieutenant Kendall-Smith had in fact presented his defence to the Court, but it was not put forward at trial as the Judge had already ruled at a pre-trial hearing (at which Kendall-Smith was represented by Leading Counsel) that it did not amount to a defence in law.
The article caused Judge Advocate Bayliss great distress and embarrassment, particularly given that he continues to carry out his judicial functions, to preside over Courts Martial and to sit as a Recorder in the Crown Court.
The Independent has published a full and prominent apology (both in the newspaper and on its website) and has agreed to join in the reading of this statement in open Court. Further, it has agreed to pay Judge Advocate Bayliss substantial damages, as well as his legal costs.
Solicitor for the Defendant
My Lord, on behalf of the Defendant, I confirm all that my friend has said. The Defendant apologises unreservedly to Judge Advocate Bayliss for the distress and embarrassment he has been caused by the publication of the false allegations contained in the article.
My Lord in all the circumstances, Judge Advocate Bayliss's object in bringing these proceedings has been achieved.
Solicitors for the Claimant
Reynolds Porter Chamberlain LLP
Solicitors for the Defendants