Tuesday 17 May 2011

FT: 'Footballer wants search order on journalists'

In a new twist in the saga of privacy injunctions, a footballer has asked the High Court for an order to search e-mails and text messages of journalists at the Sun and News of the World publisher News Group Newspapers, the Financial Times reports today.

The FT says the move is an unprecedented effort to see whether the journalists breached the terms of a so-called super-injunction concerning the footballer's alleged affair with a reality TV star.

The paper says: "The application, which the court has not yet ruled on, is likely to send a chill through media organisations at a time of intense debate over privacy law and the efficacy of super-injunctions."

Hugh Tomlinson QC, acting for the footballer who allegedly had an affair with Imogen Thomas, told the High Court that his disclosure application followed comments made by Sun columnist and former editor Kelvin MacKenzie on the BBC’s Today programme.

The FT reports: "MacKenzie had told the programme he was flooded by e-mails from readers asking who had secured injunctions against the newspaper. 'Sometimes I give [the names], sometimes I don’t.' he added.' He is there telling the world that he ... breaks court orders whenever he feels like it,' Mr Tomlinson told Mr Justice Eady."

MacKenzie later told the FT that all he was passing on was gossip not based on any knowledge of super-injunction applications. “It’s a matter of relaying journalistic gossip and nothing is going to stop me doing that,” he said.

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