Why I revealed all about those superinjunctions

My regular reader will recall that the other week I broke all of the big stories involving super-injunctions. That post can still be read.

But why did I – like literally other people on the internet and the twitter and the facebook and all of that like social media stuff – feel entitled to reveal all of this information about the private lives of people more famous than me.

Well, like everyone on the internet I have a blameless life. I have absolutely nothing I am ashamed of or embarrassed about or would like to keep private. You see, like everyone on the internet, I went through childhood and my teenage years with no vices. I spent my University days working hard. I made sure I was never in a room with a member of the opposite sex for a period long enough for anyone to think that anything might have happened which it most certainly did not. I observed the full formalities of Austen-era courtship and waited until I was married before deigning to kiss my bride. I have no idea where my children came from. I have never broken the law. I have led what many would say is a blameless idyllic life. Indeed, my very blameless existence on earth – like everyone else on the internet – probably explains why the rapture is going to take place tomorrow. It could only happen when there were enough top notch blameless people to populate whichever made up imaginary place it is that we’re off to.

So, given that and the fact that these people have more money than me and are sometimes on the telly (I was on the telly twice – it was great. I’d do it again if they asked. I have a knowing manner and sarcastic air that would work better today than during my early appearances) and they are not as good as me I feel entitled to bandy gossip about them and to reveal their foibles and peccadiloes, even if it might not actually be true but merely the sort of cobblers that one of the other blameless perfect people on the internet posts. And for that reason, because I am better than them and having nothing that I would feel uncomfortable about being splashed all over the papers, I feel entitled, nae obliged, to reveal everything about them.

Of course if I was less than perfect I would feel a little uncomfortable about that. But fortunately I am the physical embodiment of absolute perfection. So that’s all right then.

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About loveandgarbage

I watch the telly and read when not doing law stuff and plugging my decade and a half old unwatched Edinburgh fringe show.
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11 Responses to Why I revealed all about those superinjunctions

  1. Steve Jones says:

    You need to grow up – if you did break the law, or do something of which you are now ashamed then you have to come to terms with it. If somehow this information comes to light and others know – well, life’s like that some times. If somebody in your past life wants to tell the world about something you were rather was kept secret, then I don’t think that you should have the right to a judicial gagging order to stop somebody telling the truth.

    Now there are some circumstances under which confidentiality should be enforceable by law. Clearly those with an explicitly confidential responsibility (doctors, service providers, employers and so on) have no right to reveal that information – indeed the DPA makes that explicit. Also, it seems to be that there is no right of the media to intrude into circumstances where privacy should be expected. Also, there should clearly be protection for children.

    However, to deny somebody to tell a story about what happened in their life just because you happened to be part of it through the use of judicial censorship is simply too much of a constraint on free expression. Ultimately adults are responsible for their own actions and coming to terms with what you have done, and the chance it may come to light, is just one of those things. Judicial censorship is simply to high a price to pay except in specific circumstances.

    Personally, I will take my chances.

    • I am a lawyer. I believe – perhaps naively – in the rule of law. The post is satirical. The mob mentality of disclosure is to what end? Do people want to see the children of the individual bullied or taunted about it? Are they simply jealous? What is the freedom that is being stood up for here – the tabloid moralising of Paul Dacre and Rupert Murdoch? And why do we have any right to know? What is it to do with anyone other than the parties and the spouse?

      And the blackmail – as is alleged in the CBT case – do you have any discomfort with that? Should a person being blackmailed have the thing they are being blackmailed about spread over the internet?

  2. Steve Jones says:

    I know it was satirical, and yes I know your a lawyer. However, my approach to what is an article fully or rhetorical questions is to answer it literally. I’m not favourably inclined to arguments by satire, and it’s not a grown-up way of making an argument – I see it is comedians reducing complex issues to one liners all the time. In any event, I stand by what I typed.

    Now as far as allegations of blackmail are concerned, then there are laws about that and if this had happened it could have been pursued. As it is, we are not party to the evidence; it was behind closed doors, and what test was used? Beyond all reasonable doubt as is would be in criminal law? The person in question denies blackmail and says she never even had a chance to bear witness. There has been no test of criminal blackmail here, the person involved denies it.

    In any event, you appear, by using the phrase “tabloid moralising” to be one of those who seeks to see their own version of what can be expressed to be controlled by judicial decisions. I’m no reader of tabloids, and I’d have trouble naming more than half a dozen premier league footballers, but I’m also no great fan of the judiciary making value judgements as to what is or is not acceptable popular culture.

    • Tom says:

      “I see it is comedians reducing complex issues to one liners all the time”

      Jesus. So very many intelligent men and women are spinning in their graves. Some of them aren’t even dead yet.

      “Now as far as allegations of blackmail are concerned, then there are laws about that and if this had happened it could have been pursued. As it is, we are not party to the evidence; it was behind closed doors, and what test was used?”

      A little voice in my head is telling me you’ve never bothered to read any of the actual cases.

      “I’m also no great fan of the judiciary making value judgements as to what is or is not acceptable popular culture”

      Ditto.

      • Steve Jones says:

        As it happens I did look at Judge Eady’s summarisation. It talks, from memory about the impression of blackmail or near-blackmail. It is far from the tests that would imply in criminal law. Also it should be added that the claim of blackmail was not by the plaintiff in this case. That’s Judge Eady’s interpretation of the situation.

        In any case, there’s a misconception about what constitutes blackmail and what does not. One of the few firm rules is that using the threat of exposing a violation of the law is blackmail, but after that it becomes a bit grey. Threats of exposure of embarrassing information may or may not be considered blackmail – that would depend on the circumstances, and it would take a criminal case to decide. From what I understand of the law on this matter, there is a recognition that part of bargaining involves use of particular incentives and disincentives.

        I’m more inclined to believe that judges are not value-neutral arbiters of the law in matters such as this. Rather, they, like most other humans have views about where the balance point should be. I found Judge Eady’s judgement on the Simon Singh/BCA libel case rather less than liberal, as did many others, and I also don’t trust his judgement on the balance between privacy and freedom of expression. I do not think the judgements have reflected parliaments clearly stated wish that special consideration should be given to freedom of expression over privacy provisions. I think that is specially so when it is applied to judicially-imposed censorship of an adults right to state their perception of the truth outside of conditions where explicit confidentiality rules apply.

        Personally I also believe that the much-mentioned “public interest” arguments by judges often tend to the narrow position of the case in point without looking at the wider implications. Given the way that judges use precedence, this can rapidly build into a whole edifice of restrictions.

  3. Jake R says:

    Mr Jones, well said. What seems to get lost in this whole discussion is the point that this information has been publicised, in as much as one person has either engaged in some activity with another person (who the would-be injunctor has no right to thereafter control), or confided a secret to them, which that person has later chosen to reveal. This is life. And we all run that gauntlet to a lesser degree in our own existences.

    Who do you tell your inner-most secrets? Or what about that embarrassing moment? Or that affair? Will the person reveal all? Sometimes they do, and it may feel catastrophic at the time, but we precipitated that action and live with the consequences. In fact, we commonly overcome such disclosures and the realignment of our cognitive dissonance permits us to move on, reassuring ourselves further down the line that it was better in the open, anyway.

    An example which follows from that last thought; the majority of gays and lesbians used to hide their sexuality for fear of social scorn, and many still do, but over the years, as the revelations mounted and gay men and women began to stand up in the midst of the debate and defend their right to be gay, public opinion has slowly shifted to a position where it is no longer viewed by many people as an indictment on a person’s character – but a relatively commonplace feature in our society.

    Now, while those subject to such revelations may well have suffered, some in the short-term, others for much longer, plenty will have felt liberated by their unmasking. And indeed, may more who have followed have consequently suffered less because the discrepancy between the real and imagined world has significantly narrowed among large swathes of the public.

    So, maybe, after a few more years of these celebrity extra-marital affairs, people will start to say, ‘so what?’ Or maybe they won’t. But at least we’ll all know a little bit more about something, and we can have that debate, rather than yet another absurd position where the public isn’t trusted with that information because they’re too stupid to make a value judgement, or we are told it will damage a football player’s children’s lives. To coin a rather trite phrase, ‘if he was that bothered, then he wouldn’t have done it in the first place.’ After all, the vast majority of footballers, and regular folk (though not all), don’t – or at least we/they (again, but not all) don’t get found out.

    (Apologies for length)

  4. Matt Wardman says:

    Satirical?

    I’d suggest that attempts by English (not Scottish) Courts to claim a worldwide jurisdiction to control media have ended up being self-satirical.

    • You will see from my initial superinjunction past that I mentioned that. I think the claimed jurisdiction is nonsensical. It doesn’t even cover Scotland. My concern lies with the mob mentality at the minute. And for what? THis is no Trafigura. This is a man that has alleged that he was being blackmailed by a person and that in the act of that that a tabloid set him up with various photographs being taken of his entry into two different venues for meetings. I’d rather have a court decide it than a mob brandishing lighted torches.

    • And before anyone asks I don’t think it was sensible for CTB to take this further action given the Streisand effect and the way in which the issue would inevitably be initially reported (that it was about suing twitter rather than an attempt to have identities revealed). Perhaps CTB should have targeted one of the journalists on twitter – a public figure that has repeated the stories – after all they should know better.

  5. Pingback: An apology to my regular reader | Love and Garbage – some commonplace musings

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