UK Supreme Court overturns ban on abused pianist's memoir

Wed May 20, 2015 7:23pm EDT
 
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By Estelle Shirbon

LONDON (Reuters) - A British concert pianist whose autobiography was banned because it contained harrowing details of childhood rape that could psychologically harm his son will be allowed to publish the book after the Supreme Court overturned the ban on Wednesday.

The memoir by James Rhodes had been banned by a lower court after his ex-wife argued that reading it would damage their 11-year-old son, who has been diagnosed with Asperger's.

Free speech activists denounced this as a dangerous precedent that would help others obtain bans on things they found offensive or distressing.

Rhodes, 40, was repeatedly raped by a boxing coach at his school over several years, starting when he was six, and struggled for years with depression, addiction and self-harm before forging a successful career in classical music and television.

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People walk out of the United Kingdom's new Supreme Court  in Westminster, central London September 14, 2009.  REUTERS/Andrew Winning