Saturday, 26 July 2008

Mosley vindicated

The Times told us on Thursday (yes, I'm a bit behind) that the judge had ruled in favour of Max Mosley in his invasion of privacy case against The News of the World. He was awarded £60.000 pounds in damages. That may not seem much, but it's a record in these conditions. However, Mr. Mosly may now be pursuing a libel case against the newspaper. (The costs bill of around £850.000 also goes to the paper.)

In his ruling, Mr Justice Eady dismissed claims that the orgy had any Nazi theme, saying that there was "no genuine basis" for the suggestion that Holocaust victims had been mocked.

"I decided that the claimant had a reasonable expectation of privacy in relation to sexual activities, albeit unconventional, carried on between consenting adults on private property," he said.

The judge also flatly rejected the argument of the newspaper that there was any public interest or defence in recording the activities.

"There was bondage, beating and domination which seem to be typical of S and M behaviour," he said.

"But there was no public interest or other justification for the clandestine recording, for the publication of the resulting information and still photographs, or for the placing of the video extracts on the News of the World website - all of this on a massive scale.

"Of course, I accept that such behaviour is viewed by some people with distaste and moral disapproval. But in the light of modern rights-based jurisprudence, that does not provide any justification for the intrusion on the personal privacy of the claimant."

The News of the World has quickly identified the problem behind the judge's ruling, it's those damn Europeans!
Colin Myler, editor of the News of the World, said after the ruling that the newspaper still believed that publishing details of Mr Mosley's orgy was justified. He claimed it was "part and parcel of human dignity" that a person is responsible for his actions, pointing out that Mr Mosley headed up the "richest" sporting organisation in the world.

He argued the newspaper had been a victim of European privacy laws which judges in the UK had to implement. "Our press is less free today after another judgment based on privacy laws emanating from Europe," he said.

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