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Couple win £20k damages from Channel 5 for broadcasting their eviction from Barking home

PUBLISHED: 18:14 23 February 2018 | UPDATED: 18:14 23 February 2018

A general view of the High Court on the Strand, London. Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA Archive

A general view of the High Court on the Strand, London. Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA Archive

PA Archive/PA Images

A couple have won £20,000 in damages from Channel 5 for a breach of privacy after footage of them being evicted from their Barking home was broadcast on Can’t Pay? We’ll Take it Away!

The eviction of Shakar Ali, 52, and Shahida Aslam, 49, has been broadcast 36 times across four channels and has been viewed an estimated 9.4 million times since it was first shown on August 4, 2015.

The show was also available online.

In his assessment of the case, High Court judge Mr Justice Arnold said the programme had a “voyeuristic quality” and broadcast “fairly sensitive” information.

According to court documents, the couple had fallen into arrears on their rent and their landlord had obtained a court order for the repossession of the house.

Mr Ali had previously worked in a kebab shop but at the time that is relevant to the case was self-employed, “although his evidence did not reveal in what capacity,” according to Mr Justice Arnold’s judgement.

Mr Ali has suffered from a heart condition and high blood pressure since 2012 and his wife, Mrs Aslam, did not work.

Footage from the programme shows Mr Ali drowsy and confused due to medication he was taking at the time.

According to court documents, the film crew’s presence was not explained when they entered the house and at one point during the filming Mr Ali said: “Please don’t record anymore and blur over face, ok?” The filming continued.

Damages were awarded for distress caused in the filming, as well as misuse of the couple’s private information. Footage of the couple’s bedroom, as well as their childrens’ bedrooms, was broadcast.

Mr Ali was forced to write a letter to his daughter’s headteacher because she was being bullied as a result of the programme being shown.

Privacy law states people have “the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and correspondence”.

Mr Justice Arnold ruled that the couple had not consented to being filmed.

His report said: “I accept that the programme did contribute to a debate of general interest.

“The focus of the programme was not upon the matters of public interest, but upon the drama of the conflict.”

Channel 5 cannot justify the invasion of their privacy by claiming they were acting in the public interest by doing so, Mr Justice Arnold added.

Channel 5 have been contacted for a comment.

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