The teenage son of Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman has won a High Court injunction preventing the publication of private information.
Jonathan Spelman, 17, was granted the interim order against Express Newspapers after an urgent application was brought by his mother and father Mark at a private hearing last Saturday.
Giving his reasons today for making the order, Mr Justice Lindblom said the sensitive personal information, to which the Daily Star Sunday’s intended story related, attracted a reasonable expectation of privacy.
He bore in mind that it was a case of a minor facing the prospect of considerable press scrutiny in a tabloid newspaper.
“There is an additional aspect to this story in that the claimant is the son of a Cabinet minister. Thus there is a political dimension which cannot be ignored,” he said.
The judge added that the information concerned came into the newspaper’s hands through a leak, although it was not clear how it occurred or who was responsible for it.
He said that publication at this stage would not advance the public interest to a material degree, but was likely to have a very significant harmful effect on Jonathan Spelman.
He added that it was not a case in which the court should take the “exceptional” course of anonymising the proceedings.
“Sufficient protection is afforded by the parties being named in the normal way in the proceedings – so that the public will be able to identify the claimant as the person who has sought particular injunctive relief against the defendant – but ensuring that the subject matter of the application and the precise nature of the relief granted will not be in the public domain.
“This seemed to me properly to reflect the course which the court ought now normally to take in situations such as these.”
The case is due to return to court tomorrow, with the newspaper’s lawyers reportedly aiming to overturn the injunction.