Monday, May 23, 2011

140 Characters that mean so much..

What an absolute load of nonsense.

The lawyers have spent hundreds of hours, created documents that probably contain tens of thousands of words and probably spent hundreds of thousands of pounds of their clients money yet 140 characters later and it's all left in tatters.

And what have they actually achieved? They've probably created more press coverage and awareness of how farcical these privacy orders are than any MP or commentator could do at any stage during the argument; well done.

As for the alleged footballer, well his name is all over Twitter and now as a result all over the world so he has now probably become the whipping boy the press needed to show how stupidly ill thought out these injunctions are.

At the centre of it, the actual story has now moved to sidelines in the wider debate and become nothing more than yet another titillating scandal involving a high profile star; get over it, there are loads of these types of story every day and the result is always the same; a few headlines followed by some recriminations and then it all blows over.

Nobody actually really cares about these types of scandals, they are not life threatening and hold no purpose in life apart from perhaps creating some light hearted banter over the country's water coolers, but that is about it.

And then we have the laughable prospect that the legal team advising this player, who has now undoubtedly been relieved of loads of cash by their accounts department, are planing to sue Twitter; has anyone actually advised the player that to do this they would have to do it in a Californian court and that also he would apparently have to reveal his identity during the proceedings?

And now, in a further act of defiance of the English courts, the Sunday Herald not only name the player but also put an image of him on the front page and restrict access to the article to Scotland only citing that the injunction has no power in Scotland! Did this players legal team check this fact as well?

All in all what has turned out to be a nightmare case for the legal team and something that has given the anti-privacy law advocates their biggest moment must have left the player to sit and ponder why on earth he ever embarked on this journey in the first place.

However there are far more serious issues that have been inadvertently highlighted by this case, issues that effect real lives and stories of wrong doing that surely should have been placed into the public domain but stopped by the various high court injunctions now issued on an apparently regular basis.

There are no real winners in this case, or are there? The player has been left to reflect on whether this was a wise move after all, the law courts are being made to look totally out of touch with society and Imogen Thomas, the woman at the centre of the scandal, will probably never be able to sell her story. But what about the lawyers? One wonders whether they are either licking their wounds in defeat or are they at this very moment in time creating another angle to stifle the press on behalf of their hapless client? After all, they charge by the hour irrespective of what happens.

But this begs a very serious question of our legal system: if you're rich and you've got something to hide can you suppress the press through the courts? Or am I being totally naive because this has been going on for years?

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