The Sun keeps up the pressure to get bonking banker injunction lifted
Fair play to The Sun (+ of course legal team) who continue to put pressure on the High Court - or as it happens Mr Justice Tugendhat - to remove the rest of the discredited superinjunction that sought to cover up Fred the Bed, the Shred, the Banker, Goodwin's affair with a senior Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) colleague.
Having secured a partial lifting of the order and been encouraged by support via social media (not just Twitter - arguments re that medium and its responsibilities having been exhausted for now)The Sun's legal team returned to court last week and again today to press for what remains of the injunction to be lifted.
Fred the bed's bonking banker - party to the injunction - has already moved to seek contempt proceedings for being all but outed through a report in the Daily Mail but that has not deterred - and should not deter - The Sun in its efforts to allow the full truth to come out.
In relation to Fred Goodwin he has already been outed and is in exile over his trashing of RBS so his interests in the injunction are arguably spent but in relation to his former colleague - who has (despite the profile in the Daily Mail and anyone reasonably proficient at online research being able to get a list of if not 'the' likely suspect)still, thanks to the injunction maintained her privacy and not yet been publicly outed - so is that argument enough for Mr Justice Tugendhat to preserve the elements of the injunction that protect details of the relationship and her? - arguably yes.
While The Sun is right to push on the futility of the injunction in relation to Fred Goodwin, from a strictly legal point of view that does not necesarily extinghish the protection the same injunction was designed to and should afford his ******* of ******** at RBS. One of the threads in the current argument for lifting the rest of the injunction is that Fred's having an affair at the time when he was expanding his banking empire in the face of financial market meltdown suggests his eyes were on the bed rather than the boardroom and as such this is something that could be extrapolated as being in the public interest to know about and as such his bedroom activities become relevant to his boardroom decisions - and so enters the public interest.
But the public interest attaches to the actions of Fred Goodwin and - to be fair and reflective of the direction privacy law is moving in - the outing of his mistress and details of what they got up to are (privacy aside) not relevant to the public interest argument namely, he was bonking a banker and distracted from his duties to run his bank.
So to restate the position in light of the current shape of privacy law: Fred was accountable to shareholders re the running of the bank and its exposure to bad debt and the financial market turmoil as well as to the wider public - who had an interest in him as head of what was a mega-bank that happily took in the public's money and investments - so to the extent he might have a reasonable expectation of privacy there was also a strong public interest argument in relation to his character and management. It is, Mediabeak would suggest, totally right that he should have been outed and be publicly accountable - in his position and with the monies (indirectly but ultimately) entrusted to him he deserves to be so. While it is right he should take the rap, his indiscretions and accountability do not automatically extend to his mistress. What she did may have been morally wrong but it was - in relation to her, private. The question arises whether when someone such as she engages in an affair with someone such as Fred Goodwin they realise their risk of being exposed is greater and as such their right to privacy under threat? arguably yes but the fact of threat does not translate into a right to have thier privacy invaded.
Endgame: Fred deserves what he gets but if Mr Justice Tugendhat decides that the unjunction should be upheld in relation to the mystery banker then that is an entirely logical and rational upholding of the law as it stands.
So The Sun is right to keep the pressure up as we need to get a ruling and some clarity which hopefully will be in line with the approach and rationale Mediabeak has outlined above.