Thursday, 3 March 2011

Sun hits out over legal gag on top banker's affair

A senior executive at a British bank bailed out by the taxpayer has gagged the Sun from revealing an affair with a colleague, the paper reports today.

High Court judge Mr Justice Richard Henriques made the privacy ruling in what the Sun says is "another blow to free speech in the UK".

The paper claims: "The married banker, paid a substantial six figure sum, began the illicit affair before the credit crunch erupted and plunged the country into recession. He was present when the Government was forced to spend almost £1trillion to prop up the banks. Ministers are axing thousands of civil servants to pay for bankers' mistakes and more than 50,000 workers in the sector have lost their job in the past two years."

It quotes a series of freedom of speech campaigners and media experts "slamming the legal gag". They include:

Niri Shan, head of media law at Taylor Wessing, who says: "The law has gone too far when it comes to protecting private lives. They need to redress the balance between free speech and the individual's right to privacy."

Padraig Reidy, of the Index on Censorship: "There is a tendency among English judges to rule against freedom of the press. In other countries, people have a right to publish and, if they are wrong, they can be pursued in the libel courts.The courts here are used to stop stories which are in the public interest coming out."

And celebrity PR Max Clifford tells the Sun: "Many people, many of whom have suffered because of the greed and mistakes of bankers, cannot afford protection from the law. The fact that this person has been able to because he is rich is totally wrong."

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