Sir Fred Goodwin 'affair' injunction upheld

A High Court judge today refused to lift an order banning journalists naming a woman with whom former bank boss Sir Fred Goodwin had an "extra-marital affair".





Lawyers from News Group Newspapers - publishers of The Sun and News of the World - asked Mr Justice Tugendhat earlier this month to lift the privacy injunction imposed earlier this year.



Their application was opposed by lawyers representing the woman - a former work colleague of Sir Fred's.







Mr Justice Tugendhat said the application by News Group "succeeds in part and fails in part".

"The injunction will be varied to permit disclosure by NGN of the job description of VBN (the woman), but not disclosure of her name."



The terms of the order giving effect to the variation have yet to be agreed.



The judge added: "Until the order has been formulated, it would not be safe to attempt to interpret that."



Hugh Tomlinson QC, for VBN, said he intended to pursue an appeal over disclosure of the job description and was granted a stay, holding the current position, until June 23 pending an application for permission to the Court of Appeal.









The judge said that the purpose of the existing injunction "is not to keep a secret but to prevent intrusion and distress".

He added that it was particularly important that any job description given for VBN - a senior colleague of Sir Fred's at RBS - should not be so general as to be likely to be understood to refer to persons other than VBN.



He said that VBN's evidence was that she was a private person, with a family, and that publication of her name would be a very serious intrusion into her private and family life.



The judge added that he inferred from Sir Fred's evidence that he was content that the court should proceed on the basis that he did have a relationship with VBN, as alleged by The Sun, and had not told any friends or colleagues who would view it with serious disapproval.



He referred to a March witness statement in which Sir Fred said that the nature of the relationship was an "entirely private matter".



"I am a private man. I have never discussed my personal life or relationships in public."



He believed that publication of the confidential information would have a "very substantial impact on the way in which friends, colleagues and business contacts relate to me and therefore a serious negative impact on my personal life and career."







The judge said that publication of VBN's name would be a significant intrusion into her private and family life from which she was entitled to be protected.

But, while publication of her job description would lead many people to identify her, and would also be an intrusion into her private and family life, the information was an "important feature" of the story.



Also, as her evidence made clear, her name had already become known to some of her acquaintances, in some cases by reason of publications outside the press and broadcast media.



The additional publication likely to follow from publication of her role was not likely to be so great a further intrusion into her private life as to make it necessary and proportionate to interfere with the Article 10 rights of News Group.







On the issue of public interest, the judge said there should be public discussion of the circumstances in which it is proper for a chief executive - or other person holding public office or exercising official functions - to carry on a sexual relationship with an employee in the same organisation.

He added that he was satisfied that Sir Fred or VBN would be likely to establish that any trial judge should make no finding of any breach of the RBS Group Code of Conduct on Integrity Matters (the RBS Code).



There was no evidence in court of such a breach - assuming that the question was a matter for the court to decide.



He was also satisfied that Sir Fred or VBN would be likely to defeat any case NGN might make to the effect that the relationship had an impact on the financial difficulties of RBS.



"I regard the suggestion as most implausible, and there is no evidence before me to support it."



He added: "It cannot be right that the press should be free to interfere with a person's private and family life by exposing confidential information, and then seek to justify that by speculating that the information might have distracted him from doing his job.



"In the present case, there is no evidence that Sir Fred Goodwin was distracted from doing his job by his relationship with VBN. It is speculation by NGN."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Sport
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Voices
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Arts and Entertainment
The sight of a bucking bronco in the shape of a pink penis was too much for Hollywood actor and gay rights supporter Martin Sheen, prompting him to boycott a scene in the TV series Grace and Frankie
tv
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine