One sentence leapt out of the coverage today of the Max Mosley privacy action against the News of the World. “Mr Justice Eady sat stony-faced as he heard that the woman was known for arranging bondage sessions involving a man dressed in a judge’s gown and several girls,” wrote Dominic Kennedy in The Times.
To see what a stony-faced Mr J Eady looks like click here.
Mr J Eady presides over defamation and privacy cases in the High Court. He has taken a leading role in extending the law of privacy. He has taken the Act’s eight article “Everyone has the right for respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence” and applied it with vigour.
Before the Mosley case Mr J Eady’s most extensive development of privacy was in McKennitt v Ash. In it he said a very high degree of misbehaviour would have to be demonstrated for a defendant in a privacy case to use a public interest defence. “The mere fact, that a celebrity falls short, from time to time, could not possible justify exposure.”
Will Mr J Eady consider Mosley’s behaviour as falling short? Or will he consider it part of normal behaviour, as the Mosley camp argues? The irony is if he considers it part of normal behaviour and is “broad minded” about it, then it does fall within privacy.
Just look at the photo of Mr J Eady again and place your bets.
There’s more to come because, as they say at the end of the reporting, “The case continues”.