Journalist may have defence struck down after she fails to appear in court

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 20 February, 2014, 3:17am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 25 February, 2014, 11:55pm

A journalist who is being sued for breach of confidence after publishing a video on YouTube depicting a rich but lonely wife is on the brink of having her defence case struck out.

Lorea Solabarrieta, who previously worked for TVB and CCTV, failed to appear at a High Court hearing yesterday. She told the South China Morning Post over the telephone that she was not aware of the hearing.

In her absence, she was ordered to file a list of documents within 14 days, otherwise her defence case would be struck out and she would risk losing a suit brought by businessman David Chor Ki-kwong. Chor is suing Solabarrieta after she interviewed his wife, Gloria, for her 12-minute documentary The Life of a Hong Kong Tai Tai.

She showed Gloria showing off her collection of Hermes and Gucci handbags and breaking down in tears when describing her tobacco merchant husband as a busy man who spent little time with her.

Chor sued Solabarrieta for acting in breach of confidence and asked for the video be removed. The video, first posted on YouTube by Solabarrieta in May 2012, had been viewed more than 89,000 times before it was taken down in October 2013 following an interim injunction from the High Court.

Chor also accused Solabarrieta of contempt of court as she had missed the deadline in the injunction to remove the video and briefly made it available again afterwards.

A lawyer for Chor told the court: "[Solabarrieta] has a history of being absent in quite a lot of hearings. … We believe she'd always rely on saying she did not receive the summons ... we have tried our best to serve her all the documents we've got in court."

Kam said Chor would seek judgment if Solabarrieta fails to comply with yesterday's court order.