In two separate hearings before Mr Justice Nicklin today, 5 July 2023, Channel 5 made public apologies to our clients, David and Matilda Foh-Amoaning and, separately, Irene Campbell, for the misuse of their private information in respect of the filming, making and multiple broadcasts of the same episode of the television programme, ‘Can’t Pay? We’ll Take it Away!’
In November 2016, two High Court Enforcement Agents (HCEAs) attended a ministry in Luton, known as the In His Presence Worship Ministry: a charitable organisation providing a church for the local community. Mr Foh-Amoaning is a pastor and bishop who, in November 2016, was leading the Ministry. Ms Campbell was a Deaconess, Usher and Trustee in the Ministry in November 2016. Mrs Foh-Amoaning was also very active at the Ministry.
The HCEAs were attending the Ministry to enforce a rental debt on behalf of the landlord, failing which they were authorised to seize goods from our clients. A film crew was in attendance and our clients made it clear they did not wish to be filmed. The film crew remained at the back of the Ministry during the enforcement.
However, the HCEAs wore bodycams and radio microphones that were used to record video and audio footage without Mr or Mrs Foh-Amoaning’s or Ms Campbell’s consent. This included in the back office of the Ministry, which was not generally accessible to the congregation and where private conversations took place regarding confidential business matters. This footage was subsequently used in an episode of ‘Can’t Pay? We’ll Take it Away!’ first broadcast by Channel 5 on 26 April 2017.
The episode showed Mr Foh-Amoaning, Mrs Foh-Amoaning and Ms Campbell in a significant state of distress and was subsequently broadcast to over 6 million people.
The broadcast of the programme has caused considerable upset, distress and embarrassment to Mr Foh-Amoaning, Mrs Foh-Amoaning and Ms Campbell due to the grave misuse of their private information. Channel 5 has now agreed to a full and public apology, and has also agreed to pay substantial damages, to an undertaking not to further broadcast the episode in which Mr Foh-Amoaning, Mrs Foh-Amoaning and Ms Campbell featured, and to pay their reasonable legal costs.
Daniel Shaw, Associate, Media Disputes at Hamlins, said:
“The substantial sum in damages Channel 5 has agreed to pay to our clients Mr Foh-Amoaning, Mrs Foh-Amoaning and Ms Campbell in settlement of their claims reflects both the gravity of the infringement and misuse of their privacy. It has been an absolute privilege to act for them and to obtain justice and to hold Channel 5 to account.”
David and Matilda Foh-Amoaning said:
“We don’t know how to express how grateful we are. Christopher Hutchings, Daniel Shaw, Meera Khunti and Anna Seal have truly fought for us. We are highly grateful for what they have done for us.”
Irene Campbell said:
“I know money does not change what happened to me but to make Channel 5 admit to their actions was life changing. I can now hold my head high knowing I have no reason to be ashamed. I will be forever grateful to the Hamlins team for all their hard work.”
William Bennett KC of 5RB was instructed by Hamlins LLP for Mr Foh-Amoaning, Mrs Foh-Amoaning and Ms Campbell.
Channel 5’s apologies to Mr Foh-Amoaning, Mrs Foh-Amoaning and Ms Campbell are the latest examples as claims continue to be brought in relation to the TV programme, ‘Can’t Pay, We’ll Take It Away!’. Since April 2021, Channel 5 has now made nine apologies in relation to privacy claims concerning ‘Can’t Pay, We’ll Take It Away!’ following the landmark case of Ali & Aslam v Channel 5.
Hamlins’ Media Disputes team has helped, and continues to help, a number of clients with claims against Channel 5 for breach of privacy during the filming of the TV programme ‘Can’t Pay? We’ll Take it Away!’ and similar fly-on-the-wall documentaries. If you think we might be able to help you, please get in touch.