Monday 8 November 2010

Premiership player may be unmasked says judge

The country's most senior media judge Mr Justice Tugendhat said he plans to name a Premier League footballer who has obtained a privacy injunction, but will keep his identity secret while he has two weeks to challenge the decision.

The judge said the media should be free to report the fact that he has obtained an injunction that prevents allegations about his private life being published, the London Evening Standard has reported.

The footballer, identified only by the case initials JIH, obtained the injunction in August after telling another judge that his “right to privacy” under the Human Rights Act would be infringed by the stories.

But Justice Tugendhat set aside the injunction, saying there was a “general public interest” in naming people involved in court cases.

After considering the arguments made by lawyers representing the footballer and News Group Newspapers, owners of the Sun and News of the World, Justice Tugendhat said naming claimants would not prevent them from coming to court.

The only exceptions were likely to be cases where they were being blackmailed or caught up in other criminal activity.

Justice Tugendhat said: “In most cases an application for an injunction in which the claimant is named is unlikely to make the publicity worse from the claimant's point of view than it would be if he obtained an injunction anonymously.

“If a claimant is named in circumstances where there is already information about him in the public domain, it does not follow that the subject matter of the injunction must be the information which has most recently been put in the public domain.

“The only real choice is to allow the public to know the claimant's identity or to allow them to know nothing at all about the action.”

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