Coe defeat signals a win for freedom of the press

When Sebastian Coe’s lawyers sprinted, no doubt at 1500m record-breaking pace, round to the High Court last week in the hope of preventing the revealing details of his extramarital affair, they were doubtless clutching copies of Naomi Campbell’s recent privacy appeal victory.

But to the relief of the Mail on Sunday and the Sunday Mirror – and indeed of all journalists – their breathless dash was in vain.

Although the Campbell case was trumpeted by some as being the herald of a privacy law being created through the courts, Mr Justice Fulford’s decision to deny Lord Coe an injunction shows that the freedom of the press still carries serious weight in such cases.

The former athlete wanted to suppress the account of his former lover Vanessa Lander of the affair that included him paying for her to have an abortion when his then wife was expecting their third child.

But when Justice Fulford weighed up the three interests: Coe’s right to privacy; Lander’s right to freedom of expression; and the newspapers’ right to publish, he came down on the side of the latter two.

For those that feared a privacy law was being created for the rich and famous, it’s a result to be thankful for.

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