Belfast Telegraph

Why our celebs are gagging to go to court

By Lindy McDowell

They used to say that you hadn't made it until you had a stalker. This season, however, the celeb must-have is definitely the super-injunction.

Everybody who is anybody has one. These things are now being churned out of the courts with the dizzying regularity of Premiership footballers being spat from the revolving door of a late night cocktail bar.

The super-injunction is a legal device which not only stops media outlets disclosing certain information about the public figure in question, it also prevents the media outlets from even disclosing that such an injunction exists.

It can also prevent people covered by the injunction from speaking to the media unless of course (this is crucial) the courts decide to waive that bit of the ruling.

But the celeb covered by the injunction must not be identified IN ANY WAY.

Not everyone resorting to this sort of gagging order is a footballer (although England could easily field a Super-Injunction XI) and it doesn't just happen across the water (although I can't enlarge on that for legal reasons).

And if you think all of that's confusing there's also the whole minefield of privacy law which is already costing the taxpayer (under legal aid) eye-watering sums of money.

Does any of this matter?

It does if you care about freedom of speech. And, ultimately, most of us do.

But what strikes me, as the real insanity in all this, is how come the well-heeled who take out these injunctions can't see how counter-productive their expensive litigation really is?

It will all come out in the wash eventually.

And when the truth hits the fans, prepare yourself for the real backlash.

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