Jan 302010
 January 30, 2010  Posted by  Court, Non-U.S.

Gordon Rayner and Martin Evans report:

The “creeping” culture of secrecy in Britain’s courts was halted when a judge revoked a privacy injunction obtained by the England football captain John Terry.

Mr Justice Tugendhat ruled that there were no grounds for a gagging order that prevented the disclosure that the £150,000-a-week Chelsea player and married father of two had an affair with a former team-mate’s girlfriend.

The “super-injunction” had been granted last week after Terry’s legal team used human rights laws to argue that the public had no right to know about his extramarital relationship with Vanessa Perroncel, the long-term girlfriend of Wayne Bridge, a fellow England defender.

The decision to discontinue the injunction came the day after The Daily Telegraph highlighted concerns about the secrecy of the case, without being able to name any of those involved.

The injunction had been criticised as the latest example of courts bringing in a privacy law by the back door. A succession of wealthy and powerful figures have used the Human Rights Act to prevent the publication of damaging allegations on the basis that it breached their right to privacy.

Read more in the The Telegraph.

Culture of secrecy? Perish the thought that the media should not be able to freely discuss people’s private lives. Yes, the public is curious about famous people, but does that mean that the public has a right to know everything about someone who is not a government or public official? What’s wrong with human rights law protecting an individual’s right to privacy? Yes, a lot of tabloids might lose some of their audience if gossipy news were restrained, but I do wish more countries and courts would respect individuals’ privacy. Sadly, tell-all books and gossip sell better than hard news.

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