News: Cabinet Minister’s 17 year old son abandons privacy injunction appeal, information disclosed

6 03 2012

Three weeks ago the out of hours judge, Mr Justice Lindblom, granted a privacy injunction to the 17 year old son of Environment Minister, Caroline Spelman ([2012] EWHC 239 (QB)). We had a post about the decision.  The return date for the injunction was 16 February 2012 and the application to extend it was heard by Mr Justice Tugendhat. 

In a reserved judgment, handed down on 24 Ferbruary 2012 ([2012] EWHC 355 (QB)) he refused to do extend the injunction, holding that it was

“not necessary or proportionate to make an order restraining the defendant from disclosing any information relating to the Claimant of the kinds specified in the order made on 10 February, which the Claimant asks the court to continue” [119]

The injunction remained in place, however, until 4pm on 2 March 2012, pending a possible appeal by the claimant.  The claimant indicated that he had decided not to pursue and appeal and it appears that part of Mr Justice Tugendhat’s “closed judgment” dealing with the facts of the case will now be published.

The “Daily Star on Sunday” published its story at the weekend under the web headline “Online boast of Minister Spelman’s son ‘I’ve got the gear so there’s no turning back’“.  The story revealed that the 17 year rugby player had taken banned (though not illegal) substances to aid his recovery from injury.

Mrs Spelman and her husband, said in a joint statement that their son, Jonathan, a former England under-16 rugby player, took the drugs, reported to be steroids in an attempt to speed up his recovery from a serious injury.  They said

“Our son, who was then aged 16, was injured in September 2011 and took some widely available drugs in order to aid his recovery. The substances are, however, banned under anti-doping rules.  He has made a voluntary statement to the RFU and is now subject to their disciplinary process, which is still ongoing. Our son knows that taking a banned substance can never, ever be right and he is deeply sorry for the mistakes he has made and is determined to learn from them. We will do everything we can to support him as he faces the consequences of his actions. He is still very young and we hope he can be given space to do that.”

The “Press Gazette” covered the story of the lifting of the injunction.  In addition to the “Daily Star on Sunday”, the story received extensive coverage in other newspapers including the “Daily Mail“, the “Independent” and in the “Daily Telegraph”


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12 03 2012
Law and Media Round Up – 12 March 2012 « Inforrm's Blog

[…] As reported on Inforrm, the Daily Star on Sunday published a story on 4 March which revealed that environment minister Caroline Spelman’s son, a 17 year rugby player, had taken banned (though not illegal) substances to aid his recovery from injury. An injunction had remained in place until 4pm on 2 March 2012, pending a possible appeal by the claimant. The claimant indicated that he had decided not to pursue and appeal. The claimants’ parents released a statement on Friday 2 March. (15 February 2012; [2012] EWHC 239 (QB)); (24 February 2012 ([2012] EWHC 355 (QB)). Inforrm has a case commentary by Lorna Skinner and Kirsten Sjovoll here. […]

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