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Injunction row sex story celebrity goes to Supreme Court

By Brian Farmer

A celebrity who wants to keep his name out of a tabloid newspaper story has lost the latest round of a legal battle.

Three Court of Appeal judges ruled yesterday that an injunction barring The Sun on Sunday from naming the man should be lifted.

But the man wants the Supreme Court - the highest in the UK - to analyse the case.

And the appeal judges said the injunction would stay in place for 48 hours - to give the man's lawyers time to make an application to the Supreme Court.

Sun On Sunday editors want to publish an account of the man's alleged extramarital activities.

But the man argued that he had a privacy right and took legal action.

The newspaper won the first round in January when a High Court judge refused to impose an injunction barring publication.

But the man appealed - and two appeal court judges ruled in his favour.

Lord Justice Jackson and Lady Justice King imposed an injunction preventing the newspaper from identifying the man in an article.

Lawyers for News Group Newspapers, publishers of The Sun On Sunday, then asked three appeal judges to lift the ban.

They said at a Court of Appeal hearing on Friday that the ban should go because the man has been named in articles abroad and his identity could be found on the internet.

The man opposed the application and said the ban should stay in place.

But Lord Justice Jackson, Lady Justice King and Lord Justice Simon ruled in the newspaper's favour yesterday.

"Knowledge of the relevant matters is now so widespread that confidentiality has probably been lost," said Lord Justice Jackson in yesterday's ruling.

"Much of the harm which the injunction was intended to prevent has already occurred."

He added: "The court should not make orders which are ineffective. It is, in my view, inappropriate (some may use a stronger term) for the court to ban people from saying that which is common knowledge." Detail of the case had emerged earlier this year in a ruling published in March following the first Court of Appeal hearing before Lord Justice Jackson and Lady Justice King.

The two judges did not identify the man in their March ruling but referred to him only as PJS or the claimant.

They said he was "well-known'', married and in the entertainment business. They said his spouse - named as YMA - was also well-known in the entertainment business. They said the couple had ''young'' children.

Lord Justice Jackson said he and Lady Justice King had decided to allow the man's appeal after balancing the man's human right to respect for family life and the newspaper's right to free expression.

Sun On Sunday editors had argued that publication of the story would contribute to on-going debate. They also said the man and YMA had put "many details of their relationship'' into the public domain.

Editors argued that it was therefore in the public interest if an account of the man's ''sexual exploits with others'' was published.

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