Sportsman launches appeal against identification

A high-profile sportsman who obtained an order preventing publication of private information has launched an appeal against a ruling which would reveal his identity.

The man, who can only be referred to as JIH, filed an 11th hour appeal ahead of a 4pm deadline yesterday to lodge papers at London’s High Court.

Mr Justice Tugendhat extended the deadline for appeal on the anonymity order from last Friday following a fresh application as a result of press coverage of his original ruling on 5 November.

Last week, JIH’s counsel David Sherborne said that the two publications in the press had been “deeply troubling and distressing” for the sportsman.

Their effect was that, if and when the anonymity provision expired, the publication of JIH’s identity, taken together with the two publications, would lead to the public knowing information about the subject matter of the action.

But, the judge said that, notwithstanding the events since 5 November, it remained the position that “the general principle of open justice provides, in this case, sufficient general public interest in publishing a report of proceedings which identifies the claimant to justify any resulting curtailment of the rights of the claimant and his family to respect for their private and family life”.

JIH originally went to court in August after News Group Newspapers published articles about him.

At a private hearing, Mr Justice Nicol granted a temporary injunction after his lawyers argued that, unless it was granted, JIH and others would suffer distress and humiliation.

He also granted JIH anonymity on the basis that publicity revealing his identity was likely to damage his interests or frustrate the administration of justice.

In his 5 November ruling, Justice Tugendhat said that he had no doubt that private life considerations were engaged and there was no suggestion of any public interest in disclosure of the information.

But JIH had not shown to the necessary high standard that the object of achieving justice in the case would be rendered doubtful if the anonymity order were not made.

He said that it was not possible “to do perfect justice to all parties and to the public at the same time”, but an order which identified JIH but kept information about the subject matter confidential would be effective to achieve justice and give all necessary protection to the private lives of those concerned.

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