Mail on Sunday still wants untold Browne story to be made public

The Mail on Sunday has insisted that the original story it sought to publish was nothing to do with Lord Browne's private life and that it still wishes to press ahead with it.

And the paper maintained that the revelations about Lord Browne's private life – and the fact that he had a gay lover – only emerged this week because he lied to the courts.

In a statement, the MoS said: "The story we originally tried to publish was a business story involving issues of great importance to shareholders and employees of BP.

"Lord Browne chose to suppress this story by arguing to the High Court that, because the story was supplied to us by his former lover, [Jeff] Chevalier, it breached his right to private life under the Human Rights Act."

The MoS added that Browne tried to undermine Chevalier's credibility as a witness by lying to the court.

"In so doing, it was he who made his private life a public issue, not The Mail on Sunday," it said.

The original story the MoS sought to publish back in January, is still suppressed by an injunction brought by Browne.

It emerged on Tuesday that a four-month legal battle has been conducted totally in private in which Lord Browne had sought court orders against Associated Newspapers to prevent The Mail on Sunday carrying a story on revelations made by his Canadian former boyfriend.

Tuesday's revelations included claims that Browne misused BP's resources and manpower to support or assist his ex-boyfriend.

The key to lifting a ban on reporting the earlier court proceedings came after the House of Lords rejected a last-ditch attempt by Lord Browne to appeal against earlier High and Appeal Court rulings which had already paved the way for The Mail on Sunday to publish some of Chevalier's revelations.

A blanket ban had been imposed on reporting anything to do with the earlier hearings. However, following the House of Lords' decision, the previous judgments – which focus on Lord Browne's relationship with Chevalier – were freed for reporting on Tuesday.

The initial High Court ruling back in January was that publication of some, though not all, of Chevalier's revelations could be reported.

That decision later won the backing of the Appeal Court, headed by Master of the Rolls Sir Anthony Clarke, who said the court had considered the matter, taking into account factors such as the need for public justice.

It considered that some, though not all, of the matters involved should be made public. Now the Court of Appeal decision has won the backing of the law lords.

In the Court of Appeal, Clarke said that Browne and Chevalier had been lovers between 2002 and 2006.

He said: "When the relationship ended, Chevalier found himself in financial difficulties and having to adjust to a drastically reduced lifestyle. Chevalier said the claimant provided him with funds towards a 12-month lease on a flat in Toronto and the cost of furnishings."

In the High Court, Mr Justice Eady had referred to the allegations which The Mail on Sunday wished to publish.

Mr Justice Eady said Lord Browne claimed that the allegations against him were "false or misleading" and had sought to block their publication on the grounds that they were matters in respect of which he had a "reasonable expectation of privacy and/or because they had been communicated to journalists in breach of a duty of confidence arising from an intimate personal relationship."

However, he said he had taken into account in his decision that Lord Browne had admitted that he had lied in part of his evidence to the court.

He said: "I am not prepared to make allowances for a ‘white lie' told to the court in circumstances such as these, especially by a man who refers to the various honours he has received under the present Government, when asking the court to prefer his account of what took place."

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