Loreena McKennitt -v- Niema Ash, Summary of Judgment Handed Down on Wednesday, 22 December 2005
21 December 2005
After publication, in Summer 2005, of the book "Travels with Loreena McKennitt" written by Niema Ash, Loreena McKennitt, the internationally renowned Canadian folk singer and composer, took proceedings to restrain further publication of the book. On 7 October 2005 a temporary undertaking was provided by Ms Ash pending a speedy trial, which was heard on 21 November to 29 November, in private.
Mr Justice Eady today granted an injunction restraining further publication of certain private information and awarded £5,000 in damages.
The Judge decided, following the recent Princess Caroline Judgment in the European Court of Human Rights (Von Hannover v Germany):
(a) that all persons, including those in the public eye, are entitled, to significant protection of privacy, not just in relation to photographs but also other information;
(b) that disclosure of information of relationships with others can be protected even if this occurs in public and even if the other person asserts his/her right of free speech;
(c) that truth or falsity of the private information is not relevant;
(d) that the public interest defence should be subject to careful scrutiny and requires a high degree of misbehaviour and not "mere peccadilloes of celebrities";
(e) in matters of privacy the Courts should be slow to allow public domain as a defence, and it is permissible to allow a controlled release of private information.