The Daily Star has been ordered not to publish “sensitive personal information” about the teenage son of the UK environment secretary, the Guardian reported.
The teenager’s parents sought a superinjunction that would keep the press from “reporting that an injunction had been obtained,” which the judge rejected. The judge did give them an injunction that keeps the press from reporting on the story in question, the Guardian explained.
The court ruled that the newspaper’s story would invade his privacy, which he had a “reasonable expectation of” and that the story could have “a very significant harmful effect” on the teenager.
While the judge noted the story had a “political dimension which cannot be ignored,” the judge found the story wasn’t in the public interest, according to the Guardian. The Coventry Telegraph reported that the son’s lawyer argued the story was part of a “political attack” against his mother.
The UK Telegraph noted that the Star’s story about the teen was leaked to the newspaper.
The Daily Star reported on the injunction Feb. 12, writing that the newspaper was “gagged” and that it “wanted to publish a story that would contain the private information the family wanted to keep under wraps.” The Daily Star noted that it planned to appeal the ruling and that “at least 80 [injunctions] have been issued in the past six years.”
The Guardian indicated the judge suggested this ruling — giving an injunction but not a superinjunction — created a “precedent for future anonymity orders.”
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Background on Injunctions
We wrote in June of last year about former head of Royal Bank of Scotland Sir Fred Goodwin’s superinjunction to prevent the media from reporting on his affair “with a colleague.” Goodwin’s injunction was granted in March 2011 and was prompted by the UK Sun‘s attempts to report on the affair. In May 2011, a UK Parliament member named Goodwin as having an injunction during Parliament. Because of parliamentary privilege, the Parliament member couldn’t be prosecuted for breaking the superinjunction. In June 2011, a judge changed Goodwin’s superinjunction to an injunction, so the media could report that Goodwin had an injunction and about the affair but not the name of the woman Goodwin had the affair with or other “details” of the affair.
In May 2011, we wrote about the superinjunction obtained by UK soccer player Ryan Giggs. The media wasn’t allowed to report on allegations that Giggs had an affair with Imogen Thomas or even to name Giggs. Thomas wasn’t part of the injunction and said she couldn’t afford to pay for an injunction, so she was named. As such, the story was that an unnamed soccer player had an affair with Thomas but no one could name which soccer player.
Following that superinjunction’s publicity, various tweeters named Manchester United’s Ryan Giggs as the person holding the injunction. Also, Scottish newspaper the Sunday Herald published a front page photo of Giggs with the word “censored” over his eyes. And, UK parliament member John Hemming also named Giggs during Parliament using parliamentary privilege to protect himself from any prosecution for breaking the superinjunction.
During a December speech, the UK attorney general, Dominic Grieve, criticized Parliament members who use parliamentary privilege to “flout” the law and name those holding injunctions.
See all our reports on injunctions here.