Paddick writ against MoS claims 'privacy invasion'

Paddick: stories were “intensely personal”

Metropolitan Police Commander Brian Paddick has launched a landmark legal battle against The Mail on Sunday after claiming the paper invaded his privacy in two stories in March 2002.

Paddick complains the paper infringed his rights to privacy in the stories, which dealt with his relationship with other men and his former marriage.

He claims he has a right to respect for his sex life and his private life, and the right not to have details of these made public without his consent.

He says he also has the right to develop relationships with other human beings, and argues that his rights can be infringed whether or not the stories about him were true, according to a High Court writ.

Now he is seeking damages and aggravated damages from MoS publisher Associated Newspapers, and damages for follow-ups to the stories which appeared in other papers.

Paddick is suing over a story which appeared in the newspaper on 17 March last year, headed “Gay lover: I smoked pot with police commander” and “He felt untouchable because he was gay”, and another a week later headlined “Jilted fiancŽe: Drugs scandal police chief said God told him not to mark me” and “Brian said God told him to call off our weddingÉ how could they promote such a loose cannon?”.

The first piece revealed intimate details of his relationship with James Renolleau, including details of their sexual and emotional relationship, their finances, living arrangements and their break-up, according to the High Court writ.

The story also included details of Paddick’s medical history, including tests for HIV and Aids, intimate details of his marriage, other sexual relationships and his discovery of his sexual identity.

The second story detailed his relationship with Fiona Chambers, how he proposed to her, the breakdown of their relationship, his religious beliefs and convictions, and his political opinions.

Paddick complains this was a breach of his right to privacy and a breach of confidence, which caused him great distress and upset.

The stories published were so intensely personal that Associated Newspapers could not have been in any doubt that to publish would be a serious breach of privacy, the writ says.

The paper was on notice of the intrusive nature of the story after he had specifically refused to answer various questions by journalists on the grounds they were intruding into his private life, he says.

The MoS paid Renolleau £100,000 for information, and may also have paid Chambers, he claims. When the stories were followed up by other papers, he suffered additional hurt and damage, and is seeking damages for these republications, which included stories in The People and the News of the World.

Paddick is also seeking an injunction banning Associated Newspapers from again breaching his right of privacy and confidence by repeating the information about him, and complains the paper has refused to give an undertaking to this effect.

The writ was issued by solicitors Bindman and Partners. MoS lawyers refused to comment.

By Sarah Limbrick

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