- March 19, 2020
- Posted by: Josiah Hincks Solicitors
- Category: Legal News, News
The intimate details of your private life are nobody’s business but your own and, if they have been exposed to public view by others, a specialist lawyer will see to it that you are properly compensated. In one case, a man whose ex-wife disclosed secrets of the marital bed without his consent won substantial damages.
During their brief marriage, the woman had obtained video footage and photographs of the man engaging in sexual activity. After their divorce, she was alleged to have disclosed them to third parties. He responded by launching proceedings against her, alleging breaches of confidence and contract, misuse of private information, and violations of the Data Protection Act 1998.
The woman formally gave her word to a judge that she would not, except in limited and specified circumstances, publish or disclose to others the material itself or any description of what it contained. She was, however, alleged to have broken that promise on a number of occasions. Stories concerning the man’s sex life had appeared in the press and one individual was said to have threatened him with blackmail, claiming to be in possession of compromising video footage.
An injunction was issued against the woman, holding her to her previous promise, and, after she failed to comply with case management directions, her defence was struck out. Judgment was entered against her and the High Court’s role was thus limited to assessing the amount of the man’s damages.
Ruling on the matter, the Court noted that both the man and the woman enjoyed high public profiles. It had not been established that threats and insults that the man had received from others were attributable to the woman’s disclosures. There was also insufficient evidence on which the Court could conclude that his psychological problems were caused by her misconduct. His claim that his life had been destroyed by the disclosures was a rhetorical exaggeration.
The Court, however, found that the woman had deliberately exposed to a substantial number of people moving and still images of the man’s intimate sexual activity, which were taken without his consent and disclosed in the knowledge that he positively objected. He found it demeaning and hurtful to have his sex life repeatedly exposed, sometimes to complete strangers, and had suffered a real loss of dignity and harm to his self-esteem. The woman’s behaviour had been persistent, high-handed, flagrant, arrogant and inexcusable.
The man had limited his damages claim to £25,000 and that was the sum the woman was ordered to pay him. She also faced having to pay his substantial legal costs. Given that she was bankrupt, however, payment of both those bills was deferred pending the outcome of the insolvency process.