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Threesome gagging order couple 'to be identified by MP'

Couple's identities have been published in a Scottish newspaper and in US media

Published 11/04/2016

MPs are protected from from libel laws when they speak in the House of Commons.
MPs are protected from from libel laws when they speak in the House of Commons.

An MP is reportedly planning to break the Court of Appeal injunction preventing the naming of the famous couple involved in an extramarital “celebrity threesome” scandal.

It would be the first time a politician has used the protection of parliamentary privilege to “out” a well-known individual since Ryan Giggs was named as the footballer involved in an alleged affair by a Liberal Democrat MP.

On Sunday, a Scottish newspaper published the identities of the couple in what it described as a protest against the legal row. The publication itself cannot be named for legal reasons.

Speaking to the London Daily Telegraph, one MP reportedly said he was considering naming the couple because of concerns a “judge-made law” was inhibiting free speech.

Judges found that the right to “private and family life” of the couple, who have children and were identified as PJS and YMA, outweighed the public interest in the publication of an interview with one of the people allegedly involved in the threesome.

They overturned a High Court judge’s ruling that the newspaper was entitled to “correct” the public image the couple had created through the media.

It means the couple’s identity still cannot be published in England and Wales, though they have been named in Scotland, the US and extensively online through international outlets and social media.

The Scottish paper said it was revealing the identities “because there is no legal reason not to publish in Scotland what has been banned in England and Wales”.

An editorial read: “Their big secret is no secret at all. America knows. The internet knows. The whole world knows. So now Scotland knows. And so we should.”

It did not name the couple online.

John Hemming, the MP who acted to name Giggs five years ago, told the Telegraph: “It's absurd trying to hold back the flow of information in the digital age by using a court order that can only go as far as Hadrian's Wall.

And Philip Davies MP, a Commons justice select committee member, called the situation “an absolute farce”.

“I don't think celebrities who use the media to secure positive media coverage when it suits them should be able to use the law of the land to prevent coverage they do not like,” he said.

While the appeal court judgement prohibits naming the couple, it does not prevent reporting of some of the details stemming from the Sun on Sunday’s allegations.

Lord Justice Jackson, one of the Court of Appeal judges, said: “In 2007 or 2008 the claimant [PJS] met AB. There is a conflict of evidence as to whether they met through a mutual friend or on Facebook. [PJS] and AB had occasional sexual encounters starting in 2009.

“AB already had a partner, CD. In a text message exchange on 15 December 2011, the claimant asked if CD was ‘up for a three-way’. AB said that CD was. Accordingly, the three met for a three-way sexual encounter which they duly carried out. After that encounter, the sexual relationship between the claimant and AB came to an end, but they remained friends.”

AB and CD approached the Sun around early January 2016, after which the newspaper’s lawyers contacted PJS, who began legal proceedings.

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