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Supreme Court upholds injunction in celebrity threesome case

PJS v News Group Newspapers Ltd [2016] UKSC 26

The Supreme Court, by a majority of 4-1 ruled that the injunction protecting the privacy rights of a celebrity in the entertainment industry, and their family, would remain in place pending the main trial.  Publication would be an infringement of the privacy rights of the applicant and their family.  There was also a possibility that the publication could be permanently banned.

The background to the case was that a couple approached the editor of The Sun on Sunday in early January 2016 and informed him that they had a three-way sexual encounter with the applicant in 2011.  The editor proposed to publish the story and notified the applicant of his intention.  The applicant brought legal proceedings and sought an injunction which was granted.  However, News Group Newspapers Ltd brought a fresh application to set aside the injunction in 2016, on the grounds that the story was available on the internet and overseas.  While the Court of Appeal lifted the injunction it has remained in place pending the Supreme Court judgment.

The Court held that the injunction could only be lifted if the court was satisfied that the publication would not be permanently banned following trial.  It decided that the right of freedom of expression and the right to privacy are equal in principle and the Court of Appeal erred in granting freedom of expression greater weight.  The Court also had to consider the extent to which the story has or will be made publicly available, the level of public interest and privacy codes.

Read news article from The Guardian here.

Tags
ECHR Art. 8, Freedom of Thought, Conscience & Religion