Ian Burrell: The darker side of the debate about super-injunctions – demands for cash

Yesterday's proceedings at the High Court showed a darker side to privacy injunctions, which have so far been characterised as gagging orders which merely allow rich men to keep their (mostly sexual) peccadilloes out of the public gaze.

Suddenly the notion of blackmail was introduced to the debate. The former Big Brother contestant Imogen Thomas, who was seeking to overturn an injunction, faced accusations she had demanded £100,000 from a high-profile player to guarantee her silence over an alleged affair. Although Ms Thomas denies blackmail, the judge before her, Mr Justice Eady, found there was "ample reason not to trust" her. Mr Justice Eady's repeated involvement in celebrity privacy hearings has made him a bit of a celebrity himself. But he has shown he is largely unconvinced such measures have curbed investigative journalism.

During a speech, he said: "The classic case for granting a 'super-injunction' is where a claimant is being blackmailed by someone who has, say, stolen a laptop or found intimate photographs. This is by no means far-fetched. It seems to crop up with some regularity."