UK Supreme Court upholds press ban in celebrity threesome case

A celebrity who wants to keep his name out of a newspaper story about extra-marital activities has won his Supreme Court fight.

Although the case has been widely reported the Supreme Court said lifting the injunction would lead to "intensive coverage" in England and Wales which would "constitute additional and potentially more enduring invasions of the privacy of PJS, his partner and children".

The Supreme Court has refused to lift the injunction now protecting the privacy rights of a well-known individual in the entertainment industry and their family.

Desmond Browne QC, representing PJS, told the supreme court last month: "This case has been hailed by some as the death knell of the privacy injunction".

In the judgement, Lord Mance said the Court of Appeal "went wrong" in balancing the rights of freedom of expression against the rights of privacy when it agreed with application to discharge the injunction brought by News Group Newspapers, publishers of the Sun on Sunday.

"Taking, second, freedom of expression, these is no public interest (however much it may be of interest to some members of the public) in publishing kiss-and-tell stories or criticisms of private sexual conduct, simply because the persons involved are well-known; and so there is no right to invade privacy by publishing them". The barrister said identifying the star would be devastating for the family's children.

The case has stirred debate in Britain about whether injunctions, court orders banning publication of private information in certain circumstances, still serve any practical goal in the age of the Internet.

He added: "The court should not make orders which are ineffective".

"Knowledge of the relevant matters is now so widespread that confidentiality has probably been lost, " Lord Justice Jackson said.

But Lord Justice Jackson, Lady Justice King and Lord Justice Simon ruled in the newspaper's favour.

However, the Supreme Court judges said these complaints were fully analysed the Court of Appeal.

In April, The Telegraph revealed that ministers are "actively considering" a change in the law to curb the use of such injunctions.

In a summary of their ruling, they wrote that "publication in this form is contrary to the interests of PJS's children".

In a four-to-one majority ruling, the Supreme Court held that the story was not in the public interest and that publication of the names of the protagonists by the English press would be a serious breach of privacy.

The dispute was between the claimant and The Sun On Sunday newspaper. The editor proposed to publish the story and notified PJS of his intention to do so.

Publication would deprive PJS' future trial of any real goal as he would have no further privacy in the matter.

"It is different if the story has some bearing on the performance of a public office or the correction of a misleading public impression cultivated by the person involved... that does not apply here".


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