Under the predictable headline “Judge Gags Press”, the Sun today reports that a High Court judge has granted a privacy injunction to prevent it from naming an individual, anonymised as “AJS”, as a potential witness to a serious police investigation.
The injunction was granted by Mr Justice Nicol after a hearing in the case, listed yesterday at 10.00am in Court 14 under the name AJS v News Group Newspapers Limited.
Although no judgment has yet been made public, the Sun has permission to report its contents.
The case involved a police investigation into allegations of a serious criminal offence at AJS’s home on a night in February. AJS, another man and two women were at the property. Having learned of the investigation, the police confirmed an unnamed man — not AJS — had been arrested and bailed. After The Sun approached AJS’ employer for comment on Saturday 4 March 2017, he sought and won a temporary injunction.
The case came back to Court on 10 March 2017. Mr Justice Nicol said that AJS he had a reasonable expectation of privacy and accepted that there was no public interest in publishing AJS’s private information.
The judge is quoted as saying
“The defendant can say that the claimant is a public figure. However, the information which he seeks to protect is nothing to do with his performance of his public role. A public figure does not forfeit all right to a reasonable expectation of privacy.”
The Sun notes the Judge’s comment that the order could be short term if the arrested man was charged and AJS had to give evidence in Court.
The Sun was, last year, the defendant in the most high profile privacy injunction case of recent times – PJS v News Group Newspapers – and injunction granted in January 2016 (see our post here) and, after a further hearing in the Court of Appeal restored by the Supreme Court in May 2016 (see our post here).