Thursday 19 May 2011

High Court lifts injunction on Sir Fred Goodwin

The privacy injunction granting anonymity to Sir Fred Goodwin, the former boss of the Royal Bank of Scotland, was lifted at the High Court today.

The existence of Sir Fred's injunction had already been made public by an MP using parliamentary privilege.

The MP, Lib Dem MP John Hemming, asked in the House of Commons: "In a secret hearing, Fred Goodwin has obtained a super-injunction preventing him from being identified as a banker."

He then asked: "Will the Government have a debate or a statement on the issue of freedom of speech and whether there is one law for the rich, such as Fred Goodwin, and another law for the poor?"

The MP's question raised speculation about the nature of the information which Sir Fred is trying to protect, but the media was prevented from disclosing any details under the terms of the injunction.

The High Court ruling to lift the order followed a further intervention today by Lord Stoneham who used parliamentary privilege to reveal more details in the House of Lords. He said the injunction was being used to "hide an alleged relationship" involving Sir Fred and a senior colleague. (see post below)

Mr Justice Tugendhat, sitting in London, varied the injunction to allow publication of Sir Fred's name, but not details of the alleged relationship and the name of the woman said to be involved.

The Sun said today: "A court gag preventing us from naming Fred the Shred as the banker behind a super-injunction has been lifted this afternoon.

"We won the right to formally name the banker after a Lib Dem peer spoke out in the House of Lords today. The banning order prevented publication of details of a 'sexual relationship'.

"It is understood that the former RBS boss did not oppose the lifting of the gag."

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