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)