Dossier defeats bid to ban Theakston expose

People: argued for right to publish

The Sunday People took 21 cuttings on Jamie Theakston to a judge to back its claim that the TV presenter had put his private life in the public domain.

The cuttings, together with Mr Justice Ouseley’s contention that "it could not be considered confidential if you have sex with a prostitute in a brothel", helped the newspaper defeat an attempt last Saturday to  stop it from publishing a story about Theakston’s visit to a brothel.

The News of the World also ran a Theakston story, sympathetically slanted towards the presenter, saying he had never spoken about his private life.

"It is just not true," said People editor Neil Wallis. "He has talked about wild one-night stands he has had, what sort of woman he likes, how he has to be in love before he has a relationship with a woman.

"As the Press Complaints Commission has said frequently, you can’t put your public life in the arena when it suits you and then try to take it back out when it doesn’t.

"The judge laughed out of court the idea that having sex with a prostitute in a brothel could be considered confidential."

The story missed the People’s first edition as the newspaper argued at the judge’s home throughout Saturday afternoon that it should be allowed to publish.

However, the People’s handling of the story – going to Theakston early on Friday to put the story to him to give him the chance to dispute it – meant he was "able to run off to the courts under the Human Rights Act and try to injunct us", said Wallis.

"If we had just whacked it in the paper, I wouldn’t have had all this problem. All the arguments now are against us going to people anymore. We had made it clear to him we would listen sympathetically to anything he said.

"If we hadn’t put it to him we would have risked libel and he wouldn’t have had the chance to put his side of the argument."

The time factor also gave Theakston the opportunity to go to the NoW and tell his side of the story to the People’s rival.


By Jean Morgan

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