Newspapers plan new bid to unmask superinjunction footballer

The Sun and other newspapers will return to the High Court, after a Scottish paper publishes the identity of the footballer.

References to the footballer behind the superinjunction spiked over the weekend, undermining the effect of the gag.
References to the footballer behind the superinjunction spiked over the weekend, undermining the effect of the gag.

BRITAIN’S NEWSPAPERS ARE set to return to the High Court in London today in a fresh bid to unmask the footballer behind a superinjunction barring them from publishing details of an alleged affair.

The married Premier League footballer, officially identified only through High Court filings as CTB, secured the injunction last month to stop The Sun from publishing details of his alleged affair with Welsh glamour model and former Big Brother star Imogen Thomas.

The new attempt to have the gag lifted follows the decision of a Scottish Sunday tabloid newspaper to print a photograph of the footballer in question on its front page – only barely concealing his face, and making it clear that the footballer was the one at the centre of the row.

The newspaper’s editors argued that the injunction did not apply to them because Scotland is a separate legal jurisdiction – and did not put its story about the footballer on its website, so that the material could only theoretically be viewed by people within Scotland.

The paper said the ongoing legal situation where the general public knew the player’s identity, but newspapers were gagged from printing it, was “unsustainable”.

Within hours of the paper being published, users were circulating photographs of its front page online – further undermining the effect of the gag.

Today, Sky News reports, the newspapers are expected to return to the courts arguing that the publication of the details in a neighbouring jurisdiction has conclusively undermined the credibility of the superinjunction.

The Daily Mail reports that the player’s name was meanwhile chanted by tens of thousands of fans at football grounds around England, where the Premier League season ended yesterday.

The footballer’s lawyers last week lodged papers with the High Court filing a case against Twitter and an unknown number of users, seemingly in a bid to force Twitter to release the identity of users who had intentionally breached the ban.

Mentions of the player’s name also spiked yesterday upon publication of the Scottish story, as they had done on Friday when news of the player’s legal action against Twitter and its user (or users) first broke.

The player was even partially named on BBC Radio 4′s influential morning news show Today, when a guest discussing the topic blurted out the footballer’s first name.

While a ‘traditional’ injunction would still allow newspapers to publish the identities of the people involved, a superinjunction also bars the publication of the identities of those involved.

The bans can therefore only be circumvented either if the order is lifted by the court, if one of the parties breaks cover to reveal their own identity, or their identities are revealed in parliament by a member using their parliamentary privilege.

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About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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