Abuse victim wins right to tell story

A concert pianist has said a Supreme Court ruling giving him the go-ahead to release a book detailing sexual abuse he suffered as a child is a victory for freedom of speech —and for victims.

James Rhodes, 40, persuaded Supreme Court justices to lift an injunction which barred publication of his autobiographical book, Instrumental.

Rhodes was at the Supreme Court in London to hear a panel of justices rule in his favour — and was joined by actor Benedict Cumberbatch, a friend from his school days.

The Court of Appeal had granted an injunction temporarily blocking publication of parts of the book after Rhodes’ ex-wife raised fears that detail would come to the attention of their 12-year-old son and cause him ”serious harm”.

Rhodes then asked the Supreme Court for a ruling.

Justices had ruled that Rhodes could not be identified in media reports or on social media channels. That restriction was lifted in the light of the ruling.

They said Rhodes could be named but said the names of his son and ex-wife should not be made public.

Rhodes and Cumberbatch hugged outside the court “This is a victory for freedom of speech,” said Rhodes.

“If this had been allowed to continue anyone could have used this to ban any book. We do not ban books in this country.”

He said the decision also sent a message to children who were victims of abuse and added: “I was told not to tell when I was a child. Children are told not to tell. The message is ’tell someone’. This is a victory for victims.”

Cumberbatch said: “We have been friends since school. I am here to give my support.

Rhodes was sexually abused at school by a boxing coach and had suffered episodes of ”severe mental illness” and self-harming.


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