A well-known sportsman who obtained an order stopping the media publishing information about his private life has won an appeal against a ruling which would reveal his identity.
The man, referred to in court as JIH, asked a panel of three judges headed by the Master of the Rolls, Lord Neuberger, to reverse a ruling by High Court judge Mr Justice Tugendhat.
Lord Neuberger, outlining the facts in a judgment which he said could be published, said the sportsman had been in a long-term relationship with another person, referred to as XX.
“Since his relationship with XX had started, but before August 2010, a story had been published, without JIH having received any prior notice, suggesting that he had a sexual liaison with another person, who I shall call YY.”
“The story whose publication JIH is seeking to prevent concerns an alleged sexual encounter he had with a different person, to whom I shall refer as ZZ, last year.”
When JIH discovered that News Group Newspapers intended to publish a story based on information provided by ZZ, he began the present proceedings without revealing his identity.
He also sought an order preventing publication of any information about an alleged sexual relationship with ZZ during his relationship with XX which was served on seven other media companies.
Lord Neuberger said in the appeal court ruling: “If the media could publish the name of the claimant and the substance of the information which he is seeking to exclude from the public domain, then the whole purpose of the injunction would be undermined, and the claimant’s private life may be unlawfully exposed.”
He added: “If we permitted JIH’s identity to be revealed without permitting the nature of the information of which he is seeking to restrain to be published, then it would nonetheless be relatively easy for the media and members of the public to deduce the nature of that information; it would be a classic, if not very difficult, jigsaw exercise.”