Writer may face court for Tweeting footballer's name

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The Independent Online

A high-profile journalist who named a footballer protected by a privacy injunction in a message he posted to Twitter has been warned he may face contempt of court proceedings – and a possible jail sentence. Lawyers for the Premier League player asked a High Court judge to consider a criminal prosecution against the writer for breaching the terms of the order, the Mail on Sunday reported. Contempt of court convictions in theory can lead to two year jail sentences.

The case is due to be passed to the Attorney General, Dominic Grieve QC, after lawyers from Schillings asked for the journalist's tweet to be scrutinised. Mr Justice Tugendhat agreed to refer the case involving an English footballer, known only by the court code TSE, to Mr Grieve at a hearing at the High Court on Thursday. The Attorney General's office said that it had not received the referral but said it would "consider the matter carefully".

The journalist, said to appear on BBC TV programmes, told the Mail on Sunday: "Basically, at this point, I can't say anything at all because it might be in contempt of court."

Schillings is also representing another footballer whose private life is covered by a court injunction, a case that has involved lawyers asking Twitter – a company based in San Francisco – to release the details of members of the network who appear to have broken the rules. The married player won his gagging order to stop the former Big Brother contestant Imogen Thomas and The Sun newspaper publishing details of his affair.

But yesterday American newspapers not restricted by the order began publishing details of the case and on Radio 4's Today programme, the sports star's identity appeared to be alluded to. One BBC correspondent later tweeted that a guest on the show had "got just one syllable into breaking the footballer's superinjunction".