“Kiss goodbye to talking about an affair”

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“Kiss goodbye to talking about an affair”

For reasons that will become apparent as you read this blog, the three individuals who are parties to the issued Claim have been anonymised to protect their identities. The first Claimant, referred to as JRV, is a married man and married to the second Claimant, referred to as ARC. The Defendant, BRG, was the woman whom JRV was having an affair with.

The background to the Claim is that JRV and BRG are said to have met on a dating website called “Killing Kittens” in January 2022. At that time, neither JRV or BRG knew the other was married.

In August 2022, each disclosed that they were married.

In October 2022, BRG became pregnant, and she claimed that JRV was the father. BRG refused to take a DNA test to prove the assertion that JRV was the father. BRG also contacted ARC by Facebook to make ARC aware of the affair but quickly withdrew the communication.

In December 2022, BRG is alleged to have demanded £40,000 from JRV for a loft conversion, and allegedly threatened to reveal private and compromising material to JRV’s wife ARC and family if he didn’t pay up. BRG is also alleged to have threatened JRV that her husband knew people who would “visit” the Claimants’ house, which was alleged to be implying a threat of violence. BRG is also alleged to have posted explicit photographs and videos of JRV.

In May 2023, the affair ended. JRV asked BRG not to contact him or his family.

On 30 May 2023, BRG is alleged to have setup a blog and started to publish information about the affair and other private information. JRV asked BRG not to disclose his name and warned BRG that he would take legal action. BRG responded by publishing more details including mentioning JRV’s favourite football team and alleged that JRV had said he would leave his wife for BRG. A partially obscured photograph of JRV was also published.

The Judgment also refers to the police having visited JRV’s home whilst investigating allegations of sexual assault made by BRG against JRV. The police subsequently terminated the investigation.

On 01 September 2023, a journalist contacted JRV to answers questions about an article that was being written with BRG’s cooperation about the affair.

What did the court consider?

In deciding whether or not to grant an interim non-disclosure injunction the Court applied what it calls the “will you win?” test. This test requires the applicant to demonstrate to the Court that they are “likely” to establish at a final hearing that publication should not be allowed. The court explained that the threshold isn’t as high as the claimant having to prove that he is likely to win but it is close to that threshold.

The Court then considered the UK Supreme Court decision in PJS v News Group, which was a case about two partners with young children who wanted to prevent publication of information about an extra marital affair. The Court of Appeal decided that there was no public interest in details of the story being published and it was more likely that if the case proceeded to trial, a permanent injunction would be granted. The story was subsequently published abroad and News Group had applied to discharge the injunction which was granted, then on appeal the injunction was reinstated. The UK Supreme Court decided that the story would have been an invasion of privacy, and just because the story had been published abroad was not sufficient reason to undermine that protection. The Court was clear that there is no public interest in disclosing private sexual encounters even if they involve more than one person or adultery. The Court also stated that publishing that information would amount to an invasion of privacy.

It is important to note that the Court will decide each case based on the specific facts in the case.

What did the court decide in JRV & ARC v BRC?

The Court decided that the Claimants are likely to establish that the Defendant has “intentionally and progressively” blackmailed, harassed, and intruded on the Claimants’ private lives. In this case, damages would not be an appropriate remedy because once privacy has been destroyed it may change reputations forever.

The Judge ordered that an interlocutory prohibitory injunction should be granted to prevent publication of the confidential information. The Judge added that there is a serious issue to be tried, that the Defendant faces blackmail assertions and is likely to be injuncted to prevent harassment, trespassing and intruding on the claimants’ privacy.

The Judge did reference information published in a blog but it was unknown how many people read the blog and it would be different from information published in a national newspaper, where coverage would be more widespread.

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