Winslet's hubby wins bid to ban paper publishing pictures

Actress Kate Winslet’s husband won a High Court fight in England today to stop a tabloid newspaper printing photographs taken at a private fancy dress party with an “outrageous” theme.

Winslet's hubby wins bid to ban paper publishing pictures

Actress Kate Winslet’s husband won a High Court fight in England today to stop a tabloid newspaper printing photographs taken at a private fancy dress party with an “outrageous” theme.

Ned RocknRoll, 34, said there was no public interest in The Sun publishing the photographs – taken more than two years ago.

He said he is not a role model and had been a “relative nobody” prior to his marriage to Winslet, 37, late last year.

His lawyers told a High Court judge that publication would be a breach of privacy and could lead to Winslet’s children being bullied.

High Court judge Mr Justice Briggs ruled in favour of Mr RocknRoll today following a hearing in London.

He made an order preventing The Sun from publishing the pictures pending any trial.

The judge said he would give reasons for his decision at a later date.

Mr RocknRoll and Miss Winslet said later in a joint written statement: ``We have stopped The Sun from publishing semi-naked photos of Ned taken by a friend at a private 21st birthday party a few years ago.

“The photos are innocent but embarrassing and there is no reason to splash them across a newspaper.

“We recognise that in the internet age privacy is harder and harder to maintain. But we will continue to do what we can, particularly to protect Kate’s children from the results of media intrusion.

“We refuse to accept that her career means our family can’t live a relatively normal life.”

Miss Winslet and Mr RocknRoll - who changed his name from Abel Smith and is a nephew of tycoon Sir Richard Branson - married in New York in December.

The actress has a son and a daughter and has been married twice before.

She starred in the 1997 film Titanic and has been awarded a CBE for services to drama.

Mr Justice Briggs began hearing legal argument from both sides on Monday.

The court had been told that Mr RocknRoll was a marketing consultant and had been head of marketing for Sir Richard’s Virgin Galactic business – which promotes space travel – before taking up sheep farming.

David Sherborne, for Mr RocknRoll, told Mr Justice Briggs that the photographs had been taken at a private fancy dress party which was “innocent and well-intentioned”.

He said the party’s theme was “outrageous” and Mr RocknRoll had been wearing a costume.

“The photographs were taken by a private individual. They were not intended to be seen by the world at large,” said Mr Sherborne.

“They are plainly private. There is plainly a reasonable expectation.”

He said anyone trying to find the photographs on Facebook would need “some pretty specialist knowledge”.

Mr Sherborne added: “This cannot possibly be described as ’in the public domain’.”

He said Mr RocknRoll was not a public figure and did not court publicity.

“It is simply because he is married to Miss Winslet,” added Mr Sherborne. “I am sure he would not mind if I described him as a relative nobody up until the point he married Miss Winslet.”

He added: “The intention (is) to say something embarrassing about Miss Winslet’s future husband.”

Desmond Browne QC, for News Group Newspapers, which publishes The Sun, had said the photographs showed Mr RocknRoll ``partly naked''.

“What really is a matter of concern... for Mr RocknRoll is people seeing the photographs,” Mr Browne told the judge.

“We say he is a public figure. Mr RocknRoll has propelled himself into the position of public figure.”

Mr Browne added: “He tries to pretend his lifestyle is not rock and roll at all. That does not hold water.”

He said Mr RocknRoll took the job at Virgin Galactic and “apparently made up for himself” the job title of “Head of Astronaut Relations and Marketing”.

Mr Browne said Mr RocknRoll was not embarrassed at the party and photographs were posted on Facebook for “all to see”.

“It seems to have been regarded as an innocent joke,” he added. “If it was so innocent what is the problem? Why not let the public judge what is acceptable behaviour?”

Mr Browne added: “The conduct here was such that some people might legitimately regard it as being unacceptable behaviour – therefore something where public interest for justification for publication arises.”

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