News of the World wins right to air Max Mosley sex video

A High Court judge today refused to grant an injunction to stop the News of the World putting a 90-second extract of an “intrusive and demeaning” video involving world motorsport boss Max Mosley and five prostitutes on its website.

Mr Justice Eady, in London, said the events, which were chronicled in the newspaper last month under the heading “F1 boss has sick Nazi orgy with 5 hookers”, had received massive worldwide coverage, both in newspapers and on various websites.

Anyone who wished to access the footage could easily do so, and there was no point in barring the News of the World from showing what was already available.

“I have come to the conclusion that the material is so widely accessible that an order in the terms sought would make very little practical difference,” the judge said.

“One may express this conclusion either by saying that Mr Mosley no longer has any reasonable expectation of privacy in respect of this now widely familiar material or that, even if he has, it has entered the public domain to the extent that there is, in practical terms, no longer anything which the law can protect.

“The dam has effectively burst.

“I have, with some reluctance, come to the conclusion that although this material is intrusive and demeaning, and despite the fact that there is no legitimate public interest in its further publication, the granting of an order against this respondent at the present juncture would merely be a futile gesture.”

Mosley, who was not in court, is pursuing a claim for breach of privacy against News Group Newspapers, with a five-day trial expected in July.

The News of the World, which is to defend the action, said afterwards that the video clip, which was voluntarily removed from its website on March 31, would be returned forthwith.

Its counsel, Gavin Millar QC, told the judge that the newspaper would be offering the full footage of the much longer videotape from which the extract was taken to the FIA, the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile, of which Mr Mosley is president, in the run-up to its full senate meeting.

It was also possible that it might want to put audio on its website to enable any visitor to hear the words spoken – although they have already been published in the articles.

He added that, at the moment, it had no intention of putting any further visual footage on the website.

James Price QC, for Mr Mosley, said: “If, and in so far, there is anything FIA should properly know to conduct its debates, we shall supply it.

“But there is no public interest – it is merely disseminating demeaning and humiliating material.

“We have already indicated that we will be applying for exemplary damages in this case and if that material is sent out to FIA and to the 220 motoring organisations within it, the consequences at trial could be very serious indeed.”

He added: “In the light of the widespread publication of this material, Mr Mosley cannot have an interim injunction – his only alternative is to move rapidly to trial in order to vindicate his rights and that is what he wishes to do.”

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