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UK court bans kiss and tell stories

A landmark high court ruling restrains a man from revealing the name of a celebrity who allegedly had an affair with his wife, reports Vijay Dutt.

india Updated: Dec 06, 2006 19:05 IST
Vijay Dutt

Here's good news for all those cheating on their spouses. A landmark high court judgement in Britain, the first of its kind, has blocked kiss and tell stories. Justice Eady's order restrained a cuckolded husband, called AB for public consumption, from revealing the name of a celebrity, a high-profile sports personality who allegedly had a roaring affair with AB’s wife. They met in hotels all over Europe and the United States to which the lady flew at the celebrity's expense.

The ban is effective till February 2007 when the matter will be reviewed again. Until then the celebrity can only be identified as CC, which too are not his actual initials.

CC had pleaded that if his philandering was exposed it would upset his wife and children. His wife is said to have threatened suicide. CC himself too hinted at similar drastic steps It was these factors that held back newspaper editors so far from printing the details - which are well known - until the court order came.

What it means is that AB — who fought the case on legal aid — has not been able to exploit the situation for financial gain.

CC also said that media headlines about his extra marital relationship would damage his attempts to rebuild his marriage. His claim, which is disputed, was that at the time of the affair he did not know that the woman, who did not wear a wedding ring and made no mention of a current partner, was married.

The husband AB planned to sell the story to newspapers and post details of the affair on websites. His claimed he want to expose CC who was said to be a family man. AB also intended to file divorce proceedings and to name CC as co-respondent.

The judge was evidently disturbed by AB's frank intention of cashing in on his wife's affair. After a hearing on CC‘s plea for an injunction against AB talking publicly about the matter, the judge ruled that even a public figure engaged in an adulterous affair had a 'right to privacy” under the European Convention on Human Rights.

The order gags the husband from spilling the beans about the affair. The judge added the gag was justified as the aggrieved husband’s motives were "spite, money-making or tittle tattle."

The judge noted that CC had 'conducted an adulterous relationship for some months with the defendant’s wife and now seeks the court’s assistance in preventing him from telling anybody about it". He said he was faced with “the striking proposition that a spouse whose partner has committed adultery owes a duty of confidence to the third party adulterer to keep quiet about it".

However, referring to the husband, the judge also noted, "His attitude is that he is entitled to his revenge on the claimant and, if possible, also to some financial gain; if his own wife, or the claimant’s wife or his children, suffer incidental fallout, then that is the claimant’s fault."

In an e-mail to CC, the defendant had apparently threatened to tell "every person in the world” by publishing the details on the internet. He said that, in a tape-recorded, and apparently drunken telephone call, the defendant told him, 'Listen mate, you’re going to be finished when this goes to court."

Such behaviour of AB apparently persuaded the judge to give breathing time to CC.

First Published: Dec 06, 2006 17:58 IST