Sir Fred Goodwin super-injunction lifted

Cathy Gordon,Brian Farmer,Pa
Thursday 19 May 2011 18:01
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An order granting anonymity to former bank boss Sir Fred Goodwin - who won an injunction preventing publication of details of a "sexual relationship" - was lifted at the High Court today.

Sir Fred, former head of the Royal Bank of Scotland, did not oppose the move for his identity to be revealed, which came after the injunction was referred to in the House of Lords earlier today.

Mr Justice Tugendhat, sitting in London, varied the injunction to allow publication of Sir Fred's name, but not details of the alleged relationship and the name of the woman said to be involved.

News Group Newspapers went to court this afternoon seeking to discharge an order made in the High Court in March.

But Mr Justice Tugendhat said that before the application was made, Hugh Tomlinson QC, for Mr Goodwin, "informed the court that he did not wish to persuade the court to continue the anonymity" he had been granted.

The judge said a new order would be drawn up permitting the identification of Mr Goodwin as the claimant, but it would contain a number of prohibitions which would continue.

He added: "The main point is that this is an injunction relating to a sexual relationship.

"The existing order of Mrs Justice Sharp prohibits the naming of the other person to the relationship and prohibits the publication of any details. That remains in force."

Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming, who used parliamentary privilege in March to disclose the existence of Sir Fred's super-injunction, said: "The decision to lift the anonymity of Fred Goodwin today is a small victory for free speech. It is, however, a victory.

"I think the judiciary recognise which way the wind is blowing. However, what they really need to do is to change tack."

Mr Justice Tugendhat stressed: "For the avoidance of doubt no super-injunction was ever granted in this case. Nor was it ever asked for."

He said: "The order which was granted in this case was a public order and it was explained in a public judgment."

The judge also said there had never been any question of an injunction being granted to restrain publication of the fact that Sir Fred was a banker "nor could there have been".

Mr Tomlinson said it was accepted that the order should be varied to allow Sir Fred to be named because of what had been said in Parliament.

He told the judge there had no suggestion before the court at any stage that he had done "anything improper in his conduct of the business of the Royal Bank of Scotland".

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