UK Supreme Court upholds press ban in celebrity threesome case

Thu May 19, 2016 8:43am EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Estelle Shirbon

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's Supreme Court on Thursday upheld an injunction preventing the English press from naming a celebrity who was involved in a much publicised extra-marital threesome.

The ruling means media in England and Wales remain banned from naming the people involved, even though their names have been widely reported on the internet since a U.S. magazine published the full story on April 6.

The case has stirred a wider debate in Britain about whether injunctions, court orders banning publication of private information, serve any purpose when stories can travel across jurisdictions at the click of a mouse.

In a four-to-one majority ruling, the Supreme Court said that even though the threesome story was easily accessible online, allowing publication in English newspapers would lead to a "media storm" with increased intrusion into the lives of the main protagonist, his spouse and their two young children.

London-based tabloid newspapers, which have a long history of publishing stories about the sex lives of celebrities, reacted with fury, with the Sun calling the ruling "draconian" and the Daily Mail branding it "ludicrous".

The man at the centre of the story and his spouse were described in court documents as "well-known individuals in the entertainment business".

The couple testified to the lower court that originally granted the injunction that theirs was an open relationship in which extra-marital flings were acceptable and did not call into question their commitment to each other and their children.

The Sun on Sunday, the tabloid newspaper owned by Rupert Murdoch which bought the story from the other participants in the threesome, argued it was in the public interest because it exposed the couple's public image of marital commitment as hypocritical.   Continued...

Justices of the Supreme Court leave the new Supreme Court of the United Kingdom after being sworn in at the Middlesex Guildhall in Parliament Square in London, Britain October 1, 2009.  REUTERS/Luke MacGregor/File Photo