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Monday, May 23, 2011

End of the line for the superinjunction?

With 30,000 Twitter users having tweeted the name of the Premiership footballer alleged to have had an extra-marital affair with Imogen Thomas and with a Scottish newspaper printing a thinly disguised photo of the accused litigant, is there any way back for the superinjunction?

At least the Attorney General seems to know when to stop digging even if the footballer and his lawyers do not. The Independent reports that sources close to him suggested he would be highly unlikely to authorise criminal proceedings against anyone who had breached either injunction on Twitter:

They said that Mr Grieve – who is a politician – would be unlikely to want to become embroiled in an increasingly farcical situation and suggested that if the footballers' lawyers wanted redress against tweeters, they should do it through the civil courts.

"Frankly this is not something we want anything to do with," they said. "At the moment we have not seen any request to consider criminal contempt proceedings but I imagine if we do they will get pretty short shrift."

Meanwhile, The Sun reports that fans at a football game at which the identified footballer and his wife were present resorted to lewd chants amounting to 'You're not secret any more'.

Memories of Will Carling, being taunted with a chant of 'blobby, blobby, blobby' whilst playing for England against Wales at the Cardiff Arms Park, shortly after his humiliation at the hands of Noel Edmonds and Mr. Blobby come to mind.

It is difficult to disagree with Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming when he says: "The judges' application of privacy law is close to breaking point, under pressure from the biggest act of civil disobedience seen for many years." nor with media lawyer Mark Stephens' conclusion that the dam is set to burst over injunctions.
What a farce. Everywhere in the world except for England and Wales the details of this footballer are allowed to be published, and of course even here we can all read about it online.

This footballer has made a fool of himself and the legal system. I'm making my own small contribution to circumventing this undemocratic law by re-posting links which disclose all the details.

There is no freedom of speech or democracy in England [and Wales.]
Would the name have come out if it hadn't been known that the other party was Imogen Thomas? Perhaps the alleged adulterer should have been more generous and paid to keep Ms Thomas's name out of the media as well.
the super-injuctions are a HUGE FARCE ... and should NEVER be granted with respect to public figures. That is the situation in the USofA, glad to see that it's catching on UK-side of the Atlantic.
C. Wood
Well, catching-on in the England and Wales part of the UK maybe. Scotland of course has its own system.
... but Scotland is governed by the same privacy law that is at issue since it springs from European law and not English law.

In any event, this super-injunction farce should be crushed. It amounts to newspaper censorship and it has a wider chilling effect on a free press.

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