Cuckolded husband name ban raises fears of judicial cover-up

The latest allegations of a judicial cover-up follow the high profile case of a husband and father "in the public eye" — rumoured to be from the world of football — who had an affair with another man's wife, and won an unprecedented court order blocking the betrayed husband from taking revenge by telling the media.

In the first case of its kind, Mr Justice Eady granted an injunction to the unnamed man, stopping a two-timed husband from communicating with the media, or on the internet, about the affair with his wife.

He refused to hold that there was no legitimate expectation of privacy for a person who conducts a relationship with another man's wife.

The judge said: "In this case the claimant 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. There is no direct precedent for this, so far as I am aware, and it does not at first glance appear to be a very compelling case."

However, going on to consider the underlying principles behind the case, the judge said: "There is a powerful argument that the conduct of an intimate or sexual relationship is a matter in respect of which there is a reasonable or legitimate expectation of privacy.

"Accordingly, anyone who obtains such information would be expected to recognise that. If that is so for journalists, or for scandal mongers in general, it is a matter for consideration whether, and to what extent, a ‘cuckolded' husband is under a lesser obligation."

He went on to rule that in the circumstances of this particular case, an injunction was justified in order to protect the claimant's family from potentially devastating press exposure.

He also said that the two-timed husband's behaviour, in sending emails and making phone calls to the claimant, and threatening to name him as corespondent in his divorce proceedings, justified the making of a second order under the Protection From Harassment Act 1997.

Ruling that the test for an injunction had been satisfied, he said: "I would propose to grant an injunction restraining the defendant from communicating, directly or indirectly, with the media, or on the internet, on the subject of the claimant's former relationship with his wife."

The claimant, said by the judge to be "in the public eye", is now seeking to rebuild his family, and claimed that the court should have regards to his wife and children's human rights, in particular the interests of his wife, who is receiving medical treatment for stress and anxiety and has evidenced selfharm and threats to commit suicide.

The judge said that it was this factor that had led editors so far to hold back from publication of the story, and "meant that the defendant has hitherto been frustrated in his efforts to exploit the situation for gain".

The injunction and harassment prevention order will remain in force until a possible eventual trial between the parties, which is currently scheduled for the new year.

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