Monday, May 16, 2011

Eady, Wilson and Thomas


The CTB v News Group judgment makes for interesting reading.

Much of it debated the rationale for the original injunction taken out by a footballer player against a women he had had a relationship with. Blackmail by Thomas on Wilson (not his real name) was cited as a major reason that this injunction could not be lifted. She wanted between £50k and £100k to not tell the press. He then spent the money on a gagging order against her instead. And the press.

Most people would call the police. Blackmail is a criminal activity. However it seems that instead of sending someone to prison, you take out an injunction to stop them telling anyone that you were blackmailed.

There was also the balance between securing the anonymity of Wilson and that of Thomas. It is unclear why Wilson had to be protected and not Thomas. If Thomas was gagged too, then how did the press know about her? Are they in contempt of court? Is she in contempt of court?

"The courts are required to carry out a balancing exercise between competing Convention rights, as was always overtly acknowledged by the government prior to the enactment of the Human Rights Act 1998. It was, for example, explained by the then Lord Chancellor, Lord Irvine, when the bill was before the House of Lords on 24 November 1997 (Hansard, HL Debates, Col.785). He said that any privacy law developed by the judges following the enactment would be a better law because they would have to balance and have regard to both Article 8 and Article 10 (as indeed has been happening over the last decade). When the statute came into effect in October 2000, it explicitly required the courts to take into account Strasbourg jurisprudence when discharging those responsibilities. "

This shows how unworkable the Human Rights Act 1998 is.

"The majority of cases over the last few years, in which the courts have had to apply those principles, would appear to be of the so called "kiss and tell" variety and they not infrequently involve blackmailing threats. Blackmail is, of course, a crime and in that context the courts have long afforded anonymity to those targeted as a matter of public policy. That has not hitherto been questioned. In the modern context, against the background of the Human Rights Act, it is equally clear that the courts have an obligation to afford remedies to such individuals, to discourage blackmailers and to give some protection in respect of personal or private information where there is a threat of revelation."

However, Judge Eady has recognised the importance of state versus private issues ....

"It is not a black and white distinction between public and private in such circumstances, but rather a matter of looking at the particular facts and deciding whether, notwithstanding some publication, there remains a reasonable expectation of some privacy. It is regarded as a question of degree: a distinction has sometimes been drawn, for example, in respect of private information between that which has been published in the national media and that which is only available on a more limited scale... Each case has to be assessed on its own facts.

....because as a member of a select few who now censor the media, he needs to bring in all his worldly experience and decide what the little people can or cannot do, see, hear and say.

The last time I went to the ballot box I elected a Member of Parliament to help run this country.

Let us hope this coalition government follows the US model and does away with this ludicrous Act and stops these senior Judges from running our country.

Thomas denies Wilson's claim of blackmail (guardian)

10 comments:

  1. Danger in your labels there - your third tag could potentially breach. However, KUTGW.

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  2. Well there’s two sides to this story, hopefully Imogen well a get a chance to explain herself to. Of course everyone will believe the footballer , like he made everyone believe he’d be faithful to his partner. I don’t really believe what Mr Justice Eady is saying as everyone knows he‘s obsessed and loves giving out those gagging orders as he’s just as corrupt as the people he gives them out to.

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  3. I am following these gagging stories and I am surprised to see to what madness the Convention on Human Rights can lead.

    It seems to me that Mr Justice Eady is serving punishment for a crime(i.e. blackmail) that was not proven to have been committed.
    Blackmail should be investigated by the Police, and now that the judge has stated that "it appeared strongly to suggest that the Claimant was being blackmailed", the Police ought to be called in. Or Ms Thomas should be able to sue the judge for slander.

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  4. Wilson is his fathers surname...

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  5. Yes, if Imogen feels so strongly she should sue.
    perhaps the sun will fund her.

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  6. Yeah, Wilson is his real name. They should really have picked a better alias.

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  7. Why doesn't Imogen tell her tale to an American news outlet. The judge could not do anything because an Ameican paper cannot be in violation of a British gagging order. The only problem is that Ryan Giggs is not known in here in the States -- and I am in America so I can say the name.

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  8. The judgement is so flawed in my opinion. There is no objectivity at all and the Judge is making damaging credibility findings on Imogen Thomas based on the CLAIMANT's evidence and not hers! The only evidence the judge had of IT was the published article. She had not chance to challenge the Claimant's claims and not chance to put her side of the story. The judgement reads more like a defence of the original decision rather than a fair and objective judgement. The fact that IT raised the fact that this injunction is already in the public domain has not been conisdered at all. It is just a rant by the judge believing everthing the Claimant says and supposing blindly that kiss and tell serve no public interest. What? Even RBS and Fred the Shred which effected the banking crisis, ministers like Robin Cook hypocritically presiding over an 'ehtical' foreign policy whilst having an affair etc. I'm sorry, but the judge is completely out of touch. Footballers at HUGE role models for kids who buy the shirts, brands, ticket prices, television subscription etc. It is in the public interest to know what the 'role models' are doing. Celebrities can't pick and choose what they want the public to know (to earn cash) and what they don't want them to know (to protect reputation). Makes you wonder why the judge so blindly accepted the evidence of a man who deceived his own family? The defence should focus on (i) the wednesbury unreasonable credibility findings against IT (ii) the fact the football is a huge role in society and kids regard the 'stars' as hero's with those with big wholesome brands like the Claimant making lots of money (iii) the balance between Art 8 and Art 10 has been considered with a presumption for Art 8. Art 8 is only a limited right, you can breach it if it is for a "legitimate purpose" and exposing this creep is a legitimate purpose (iv) the case is reported in the Spanish media / USA etc as the case is so 'public' now so the judgement discrimates against the UK press and public (v) protection under Art 8 should not include 'affairs' as this is not part of "family" life it is some activity entered into outside the married home and can be distinguished from a death in the family, invasion of children's privacy, someone with cancer for example. The defence obviously did a bad job! Get me on the case :-)

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  9. Marlene, if she did that, then *she* would be in breach of the order.

    Fellow anon, if it looks like the judge blindly believed what the Claimant said, then that's because that's what they're supposed to do - everything submitted to the court should be assumed to be true, and knowingly misleading or lying to the court amounts to perverting the course of justice, an offence that could net you life imprisonment and an unlimited fine.

    Blogger: "This shows how unworkable the Human Rights Act 1998 is." [citation needed] It doesn't seem to follow from the paragraph before it at all, and the paragraph following it is a perfectly cogent bit of reasoning. I don't really see what the objection here is - you think it should be perfectly legal for a newspaper to be complicit in blackmail? There's nothing new in court orders being issued to prevent a crime being committed (ASBOs do the same thing, and the concept wasn't new when they were introduced). Of course, she can probably never be tried for the alleged blackmail, because thanks to all the publicity surrounding the case it seems impossible that she could get a fair trial now.

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