An order granting anonymity to former bank boss Sir Fred Goodwin – who won an injunction preventing publication of details of a “sexual relationship” – was lifted at the High Court today.
Sir Fred, former head of the Royal Bank of Scotland, did not oppose the move for his identity to be revealed, which came after the injunction was referred to in the House of Lords earlier today.
Mr Justice Tugendhat, sitting in London, varied the injunction to allow publication of Sir Fred’s name, but not details of the alleged relationship and the name of the woman said to be involved.
News Group Newspapers went to court this afternoon seeking to discharge an order made in the High Court in March. But Mr Justice Tugendhat said that before the application was made, Hugh Tomlinson QC, for Goodwin, “informed the court that he did not wish to persuade the court to continue the anonymity” he had been granted.
The judge said a new order would be drawn up permitting the identification of Goodwin as the claimant, but it would contain a number of prohibitions which would continue.
He added: “The main point is that this is an injunction relating to a sexual relationship.
“The existing order of Mrs Justice Sharp prohibits the naming of the other person to the relationship and prohibits the publication of any details. That remains in force.”
The court hearing came after Liberal Democrat peer Lord Stoneham used his parliamentary privilege to break the superinjunction at the House of Lord.
Lord Oakeshott, asking a question on behalf of Lord Stoneham, said:
“Would [Justice minister Lord McNally] accept that every taxpayer has a direct public interest in the events leading up to the collapse of the Royal Bank of Scotland?
“So how can it be right for a superinjunction to hide the alleged relationship between Sir Fred Goodwin and a senior colleague?
“If true, it would be a serious failure of corporate governance and not even the FSA would be allowed to know about it.”
Justice minister Lord McNally replied:
“I do not think it is proper for me, from this dispatch box, to comment on individual cases, some of which are before the courts.”
The existence of Goodwin’s superinjunction was first revealed in March by Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming.