Three national newspapers today revealed the name of the Premier League football manager alleged to have visited a brothel last year.
The story follows publication of an article in The Sun newspaper just before Christmas outlining details of a Premiership manager who it said had visited a Thai ‘vice den’ without identifying the figure involved.
At the time, The Sun said “creeping privacy laws in the UK” prevented it from naming him and it said it had been threatened with an injunction by the man’s lawyers.
That followed a number of cases in which wealthy and famous individuals had successfully used the Human Rights Act to gag the media.
Naming the manager on its front page today the Telegraph said last week’s “landmark ruling” at the High Court by Justice Tugendhat, when he lifted an injunction granted to John Terry, the Chelsea and England captain, that had blocked reporting of his extra-marital affair, “swung the pendulum back in favour of freedom of speech”.
The Telegraph said: “Justice Tugendhat commented that while ‘freedom to live as one chooses’ was a valuable principle, ‘so is the freedom to criticise – within the limits of the law – the conduct of other members of society as being socially harmful or wrong’.”
The Telegraph added that the manager’s name was already widely circulated on the internet. The Sun and the Daily Mail also named the man.
Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre and others have been strongly critical of the way the Human Rights Act has been interpreted by UK judges to extend the law of privacy. Most famously last year Formula One boss Max Mosley successfully sued the News of the World for breach of privacy after it revealed details of his extra-marital orgy with five dominatrices.
Last week the Telegraph and the Mail both seemed to test the limits of privacy law by running articles about the existence of the so-called “super-injunction” taken out by Terry ahead of Justice Tugendhat lifting the order, without naming the individual involved.