Lawyers representing a woman who allegedly had a sexual relationship with former bank boss Sir Fred Goodwin failed today in an attempt to persuade a judge to launch contempt proceedings against the Daily Mail.
They accused the Daily Mail of “deliberately flouting” a High Court order saying the woman should not be identified and asked Mr Justice Tugendhat to refer their complaint to the Attorney General, who would decide whether to prosecute.
But the judge, sitting in London, announced today that he had declined to make the reference.
In a written judgment, he said: “The applicant is a lady with whom Sir Frederick Goodwin is alleged to have had an affair while both were working for RBS, before RBS had to be rescued by public funds some 18 months or so ago.”
Giving his decision, he said: “The reason that I decline to make the reference is that, in my judgment, it would not assist the Attorney General.
“The lady is free to refer the matter to the Attorney General herself, and the Attorney General is free to act of his own motion.
“This case has received extensive coverage in many newspapers and other news media and has been the subject of public judgments.
“If the Attorney General does decide to consider this matter, the contents of this judgment will be available to him.”
Lawyers for the Daily Mail said there had been no “deliberate intention” to flout or frustrate the court order and argued that a report in the newspaper had not breached it.