Judges dismiss part of Murphy appeal - but agree to hear more

By James Wilmore

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: High court, Appeal, High court of justice, Premier league, Karen murphy

High Court judges today dismissed part of licensee Karen Murphy's appeal against a conviction for screening foreign satellite football - but the...

High Court judges today dismissed part of licensee Karen Murphy's appeal against a conviction for screening foreign satellite football - but the matter is not complete yet.

The Publican was in the High Court to hear Lord Justice Pumfrey and Mr Justice Stanley Burnton reject the appeal based on domestic law, but agree to listen to Murphy's legal team's arguments on European competition law.

These arguments will be heard in the High Court in the new year.

In the conclusion to the judgment it states: "Subject to the points of EC law to which we have referred in the preceding paragraph, we would dismiss this appeal."

Murphy, licensee of the Red, White & Blue, in Southsea, Hampshire, who was not present in court today when the judgment was handed down, is appealing against a previous crown court conviction for showing Premiership football via Greek channel Nova.

Licensees have been following the appeal closely, in what is regarded as a test case on the issue of foreign satellite football in pubs.

The judges said they were satisfied that Murphy had the "requisite intent" to avoid paying Sky and she was aware Sky had the "exclusive right to the football matches in question in the UK and make a charge for the screening of the broadcasts".

Premier League spokesman Dan Johnson said: "We are extremely pleased that the High Court has endorsed the judgments of the Crown and Magistrates courts as well as the position consistently presented by the Premier League and Media Protection Services to the licensed trade.

"We hope that publicans and others will heed the advice of the courts and accept that the use of foreign satellite systems to screen Premier League football in the UK is copyright theft, pure and simple."

However Paul Dixon, of Molesworths, Bright, Clegg, part of Murphy's legal team, argued the case was far from over.

"It would be foolish for any party to reach any conclusions or make any assertions based on the judgment which has been handed down today because we are only half way through the appeal," he said.

"We have always said that this case is all about European law, and the High Court has not yet heard argument on the EU issues. In the words of Lord Justice Pumfrey, these issues are of "central importance" to the case.

"The second part of Karen's appeal will be heard early in the New Year.

"In footballing terms, we are in the half-time interval, and every football fan knows that the game is never over and nor is the result certain until the final whistle."

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