Ned RocknRoll obtains interlocutory injunction in the UK High Court, on privacy grounds, against Sun newspaper over photographs

January 10, 2013 |

The Age and the Guardian report that Ned RocknRoll has obtained an interlocutory injunction in the High Court in the UK restraining the Sun newspaper from publishing embarrassing photographs of him at a fancy dress party.

The Guardian article provides:

 Kate Winslet‘s husband, Ned Rocknroll, has won his high court bid to prevent the Sun from publishing “embarrassing” pictures of him partly naked at a fancy dress party.

Lawyers for Rocknroll argued that his privacy would be grossly invaded if pictures of him “partly naked” in a fancy dress costume at a private family party in July 2010 were printed.

David Sherborne, the lawyer for Rocknroll, said the fancy dress theme was “outrageous” and that Winslet’s children would be taunted and bullied if the Sun was allowed to publish the pictures.

The high court judge, Mr Justice Briggs, on Tuesday extended a privacy injunction originally issued last week for Rocknroll.

The gagging order extends an emergency injunction granted on Thursday evening shortly after the Sun contacted Winslet’s publicist about the pictures.

Judge Briggs said on Tuesday: “I am minded to grant the restriction substantially sought after and extend the current regime.”

The judge said he would hand down his written reasons for granting the injunction within 10 days.

Rocknroll, who attended the high court hearing in London, married Winslet in a low-key ceremony in New York in December. He is the nephew of Sir Richard Branson and changed his name from Edward Abel Smith because he believed people take themselves too seriously, the court heard during the two-day hearing in London.

Sherborne said that Rocknroll was “horrified” at the prospect of the pictures being published by the Sun. They were never intended for public consumption and would cause “considerable embarrassment and humiliation” for Winslet and her children, he added.

He argued that there was no public interest in allowing the pictures to be printed and that Rocknroll was a “relative nobody” with no public standing in life.

The Sun’s publisher, News International subsidiary News Group Newspapers, had asked the court to overturn the injunction.

It argued that the pictures, which it discovered on a publicly accessible Facebook profile earlier this month, were already publicly available and that Rocknroll had “propelled himself into the public eye” with his marriage to Winslet.

Rocknroll and Winslet said in a statement: “We have stopped the Sun from publishing semi-naked photos of Ned taken by a friend at a private 21st birthday party a few years ago. The photos are innocent but embarrassing and there is no reason to splash them across a newspaper.

“We recognise that in the internet age privacy is harder and harder to maintain. But we will continue to do what we can, particularly to protect Kate’s children from the results of media intrusion. We refuse to accept that her career means our family can’t live a relatively normal life.”

The gagging order is the latest in a string of high court privacy injunctions brought against newspapers. The court has upheld several injunctions brought by celebrities and public figures in the past year, but signalled a change in direction in September when it rejected the former England manager Steve McClaren’s attempt to ban the Sun from printing details of his alleged extramarital affair.

Experts have said that a decisive factor in the success of privacy injunctions is whether the claimant can be said to be a role model or figure from whom the public could reasonably expect a higher standard of conduct.


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