Monday 17 January 2011

Sports star appeals ruling that would unmask him

A high-profile sportsman who has obtained an order preventing the media from publishing private information is appealing against a ruling which would reveal his identity.

The man, who can only be referred to as JIH, is challenging a decision on anonymity made by a judge in the High Court in London last year.

Mr Justice Tugendhat made a ruling that "the general principle of open justice provides, in this case, sufficient general public interest in publishing a report of proceedings which identifies the claimant to justify any resulting curtailment of the rights of the claimant and his family to respect for their private and family life".

The sportsman had argued that publishing his name would have "a devastating effect" on his family.

Three judges in the Court of Appeal - the Master of the Rolls, Lord Neuberger, Lord Justice Maurice Kay and Lady Justice Smith - are hearing his case.

Richard Spearman QC, for News Group Newspapers, said the claimant should be named in order to give the public confidence in open justice. "We should be wary of extending the concept of secrecy," he told the Court of Appeal. "There is a mischief about anonymisation in that it won't stop people speculating."

Hugh Tomlinson QC, for the sportsman, argued there was no public interest in the exposure. Rather than promote the interests of justice it would simply be "entertainment journalism" he said.

The judges reserved their decision.

Source: Telegraph, Evening Standard.

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