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."

Arts and Entertainment
The cast of The Big Bang Theory in a still from the show
tvBig Bang Theory filming delayed by contract dispute over actors' pay
Sport
England celebrate a wicket for Moeen Ali
sportMoeen Ali stars with five wickets as Cook's men level India series
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
News
Robyn Lawley
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
people
News
i100  ... he was into holy war way before it was on trend
Life and Style
lifeDon't get caught up on climaxing
Life and Style
food + drinkVegetarians enjoy food as much as anyone else, writes Susan Elkin
Arts and Entertainment
Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) and Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint)
newsBloomsbury unveils new covers for JK Rowling's wizarding series
News
scienceScientists try to explain the moon's funny shape
Sport
Usain Bolt confirms he will run in both the heats and the finals of the men's relay at the Commonwealth Games
commonwealth games
News
peopleHowards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, was 60
Life and Style
Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson voice the show’s heroes
gamingOnce stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
As Loki in The Avengers (2012)
filmRead Tom Hiddleston's email to Joss Whedon on prospect of playing Loki
Voices
voices In defence of the charcoal-furred feline, by Felicity Morse
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

Education Recruitment Consultant- Learning Support

£18000 - £30000 per annum + Generous commission scheme: AER Teachers: Thames T...

All Primary NQT's

£100 - £120 per day + per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Description Calling a...

DT Teacher - Food Technology

£100 - £145 per day + Pension and travel: Randstad Education Maidstone: SUPPLY...

Supply Teachers Needed in Thetford

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Supply teachers neede...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star