Stuart Smith on newspaper injunctions

I am not often in agreement with Paul Dacre, editor in chief of Associated Newspapers, but last month I let bygones be bygones when he castigated Mr Justice Eady for his “arrogant and amoral” judgements that were imposing a privacy law on British newspapers.

It was Eady who gagged newspapers from reporting a parliamentary question about Trafigura in the so-called super-injunction affair.

And two years ago Eady found in favour of Max Mosley, former president of the FIA motor racing body, in his privacy case against the News of the World. To let Dacre paraphrase, Eady “ruled that it was perfectly acceptable for the multimillionaire head of a multibillion sport… to pay five women £2,500 to take part in acts of imaginable sexual depravity”.

But here’s the real corker. Eady has now awarded Tiger Woods an injunction that bans anyone from publishing pictures of the golfer naked, or with any parts of his body exposed.

Theoretically, that would exclude just about every publicity picture ever taken of Woods. It would exclude those semi-naked and oh-so-revealing shots of Woods shaving himself in the Gillette ads; and all that stuff about being a Tiger in the Accenture campaign (not, of course, why these two sponsors are dropping him).

Surreally, a note attached to the injunction states: “This order is not to be taken as an admission that any such photographs do exist, and it is not admitted any such images may have been fabricated, altered, manipulated or changed to create the false appearance and impression that they are nude photographs of our client.”

Eady is apparently puzzled and upset at the negative publicity he is receiving, in the same way that Brian Hutton was puzzled and upset over the wrong-headed conclusions he drew from his eponymous inquiry. These people don’t seem to understand that they live in an open society.

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