Mazher Mahood in injunction bid to stop of publication of his image ahead of Panorama expose - Press Gazette

Mazher Mahood in injunction bid to stop of publication of his image ahead of Panorama expose

Investigative journalist Mazher Mahmood  has applied to the High Court for an injunction to ban publication of anything showing his physical characteristics ahead of a BBC Panorama focusing on him.

The BBC had planned to broadcast the expose on Monday last week, but then re-scheduled it to be aired on Monday next week, reportedly because of the "legal apparatus".

Mahmood was suspended by his newspaper, the Sun on Sunday – which is from the same stable which ran the now defunct News of the World, where he had been investigations editor – in July following the collapse of a trial involving the singer and former X-Factor judge, Tulisa Contostavlos.

Judge Alistair McCreath told the jury at Southwark Crown Court then that there were "strong grounds" to believe that Mahmood had lied on the witness stand and "had been manipulating the evidence".

Mahmood was the chief prosecution witness in the case against Ms Contostavlos, which was brought after the alleged drugs deal was exposed on the Sunday on Sunday in June last year.

Since the Tulisa case, the Crown Prosecution Service has dropped two other cases in which he was due to be a prosecution witness.

Tomorrow's application is scheduled to be dealt with by Sir David Eady, who, as Mr Justice Eady, was the judge who dealt with a large number of applications for injunctions relating to privacy and publication issues.

The injunction Mahmood seeks would ban the publication of material showing his physical characteristics after April 5, 2006, as well as of any information which would suggest his current whereabouts.

The date is significant because April 5, 2006, was the day on which Mahmood and the News of the World lost an earlier bid to block publication of photographs of himself.

Mr Justice Mitting overturned an interim order Mahmood and the newspaper had obtained banning the publication or distribution of photographs of him issued by Respect MP George Galloway.

Galloway, who subsequently posted two photographs on a website, said he had decided to expose Mahmood after the journalist's covert attempt to trick him into discreditable conduct during a dinner at the Dorchester Hotel the previous week.

Mahmood had claimed when he obtained the initial interim injunction that Galloway's release of the photos on a Respect website – the pictures were subsequently picked up and used on other websites – posed a risk to his well-being and that of his family, as his activities had made him a target for threats because he had helped put more than 130 criminals behind bars.

But Mr Justice Mitting rejected Mahmood's claim, saying that he was satisfied that the true purpose of the application was not to protect his life but to protect his earning capacity and his position as an investigative journalist for the News of the World.



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