26.1.04

Will Beckham's bodyguards spill the beans? - if so, what can he do about it?

Well it is de rigeur is it not to tell all if the price is right. Employee loyalty is a fastly fading concept especially when it can be readily traded. As Paul Burrell showed, it doesn't pay to displease those who are privy to ones secrets.

Whatever Atricle 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights may prescribe, Privacy, it would seem, is not a cherished human right but something forfeited upon becoming a celebrity.

Whether a human right (as in the cases of Wainwright or Peck) or a celebrity commodity (Douglas v Hello) the English courts are in no hurry to recognise any distinct law of privacy. So what can be done to stop the lucrative market in secret selling?

First, don't fall out with Cuban bodyguards who have been known to smuggle rottweilers for Fidel Castro.
Second, offer them more money (depending on how much you don't want them to tell) than the papers.
Third, check the confidentiality clause in your agreements!

If Beckham's bodyguards were employed by Real Madrid rather than him then their confidentiality clause might cover the club and club related confidences but not other confidential information they may have on Beckham that does not affect the club. But even if a comprehensive confidentiality agreement does exist what protection will it offer? He could try the prior restraint route and injunct all the bodyguards from diclosing anything. If that fails then he could of course sue them for anything they do reveal in breach of their confidentiality clauses. The latter is not much use as the presumed damage of publication will already have been done.

As happened with the Queen and Ryan Parry, Beckham may find that the best protection the law will give may be an injunction based on breach of confidence - but whether it will be granted before or after publication is not so certain - if you were a displeased Cuban security guard would you risk an injunction, no money for your story and the threat of contempt in the UK or would you leak your story via a web site closer to home and then tell the full story for the price that seemed right??

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