Harry Potter and the High Court chamber of secrets

By Dominic Ponsford

Attempts to sell stolen copies of the new Harry Potter book to
journalists have led author JK Rowling to issue a wide-ranging
injunction to protect the book’s secrecy.

Sun reporter John Askill was shot at while trying to take a copy of
the book, which had been offered to him for £50,000. Two men have since
been released on police bail following the incident in Kettering,
Northants. One was charged with possession of an offensive weapon and
handling a stolen book and another was charged with possession of an
imitation firearm.

Now Rowling has issued an unusual “John Doe”
injunction to ensure that the plot of her book, Harry Potter and the
Half-Blood Prince, remains a secret until its official publication date
of 16 July. David Hooper, from law firm Reynolds Porter Chamberlain,
said: “This far-reaching injunction applies to anyone who has, or has
had, possession of all or part of the book without the consent of
Bloomsbury Publishing and JK Rowling.

“This type of injunction is
known as a John Doe order because those to whom it applies are not
named. It doesn’t just apply to the two named people who were
attempting to sell copies of the book. It catches anyone who is in
unauthorised possession of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

This
injunction is much wider in scope than the John Doe order obtained for
the previous Harry Potter book.”According to Hooper, the order also
stops anyone who may come into possession of all or part of the book
from disclosing any information in it to any third party and requires
immediate delivery of the book to the publisher. He said that anyone
with notice of the order is liable to be imprisoned or fined for
contempt of court if they breach its terms.

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