HAS Twitter killed the superinjunction? If you are a celebrity watcher, the chances are that you can google information that this newspaper is legally prohibited from publishing — a situation that makes an ass of the law.
The rise of the so-called superinjunction has made the situation even worse because the media is not even allowed to report on the very existence of these injunctions. Any breach of such an order is contempt of court and could land a newspaper editor in jail.
But, while neither the courts nor politicians show any appetite to tackle the problem, an internet phenomenon may change all that. A single Twitter user has drawn 80,000 followers to a list of celebrities alleged to have taken refuge behind superinjunctions.
Details of a spate of superinjunctions have been revealed. On Thursday, an injunction was granted to a Premier League footballer who wanted to hide an affair with an 18-year-old model from his wife.
Meanwhile, the 24-year-old woman at the centre of an injunction preventing a married actor from being identified said she believed the release of the names on Twitter made a mockery of gagging orders.
They also include a married actor said to have had sex with an escort who had previously slept with Manchester United footballer Wayne Rooney.
The escort, Helen Wood, articulated well the dilemma facing the courts.
“I think when somebody like a judge has made a formal decision and then it is gone and broadcasted all over something as petty as Twitter, it is absolutely ridiculous.
“It has made them look like a complete joke.”
Solicitor Mark Stephens, a leading media and internet lawyer, said he believed superinjunctions were being brought into disrespect and disrepute. “They are almost discriminatory justice. Not a single woman has taken out a super injunction and as a result of that, it is only the men. Invariably they are rich men because it costs between £50,000 and £100,000 (€56,000 and €113,000) to get a superinjunction.”
The tweets contained serious errors however, including a false claim that socialite and campaigner Jemima Khan had stopped publication of pictures of her with Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson.
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