Pictures taken from Facebook which showed Kate Winslet’s new husband Ned RocknRoll semi-naked at a fancy dress party could have led to her children being subject to ridicule, a judge has said.
Mr Justice Briggs today handed down a judgment explaining why, on 8 January, he upheld an interim privacy ruling banning The Sun from publishing photos published on Facebook of RocknRoll.
The pictures were taken in July 2010 at a fancy dress party held on a private estate in West Sussex.
They were taken by James Pope and appeared on his Facebook page where they could be viewed by his 1,500 "friends". He contends that they only became visible to the public after “recent changes to his privacy settings”.
The Sun argued that RocknRoll became a public figure when he married Winsle and that he waived his rights to privacy after he was paid for publicity around his first marriage in 2009. It also said , at least on 2 January this year, the pictures were visible to anyone with a Facebook account.
Giving his reasons for upholding the injunction banning publication of the photos, Mr Justice Briggs said that RocknRoll was not a prominent member of the “social sphere” and had done doing to “seek publicity about his relationship with Miss Winslet”.
He noted that the photos have now been taken down from Facebook and he said that there is no evidence that they have been widely viewed by the public.
He said: “The probability is, on the present evidence, that the photographs would only have been found either as the result of very expert, expensive and diligent research, or as the result of a tip-off by someone who knew about them and about their whereabouts.”
He also said, citing information in a confidential part of the judgment, “there is in my view good reason to suppose that, if the photographs or a description of their content were published in a national newspaper with the circulation of the Sun, there is real reason to think that a grave risk would arise as to Miss Winslet’s children being subjected to teasing or ridicule at school about the behaviour of their newly acquired step-father, within a short period after his arrival within their family, and that such teasing or ridicule could be seriously damaging to the caring relationship which, on the evidence, the claimant is seeking to establish with them.”
Desmond Browne QC, for The Sun, made reference in court to “pictures available on the internet of Miss Winslet’s appearances, scantily clad, in films”.
But the judge said: “Whatever may be the difficulties facing a mother in bringing up children while, at the same time, pursuing a career as an actress, whether on stage or in film, that provides no possible reason for exposing her children to a real risk to additional embarrassment or upset from the nationwide publication of photographs (or their contents) depicting their other carer behaving in a foolish and immature manner when half naked.”
This article first appeared on Press Gazette.