Imogen Thomas
The Sun has lost its bid for the right to name a premier league footballer reported to have had an affair with former big brother contestant Imogen Thomas (pictured).

News Group Newspapers, the division of News International that publishes the Sun and the News of the World, appeared alongside Thomas at the high court today to fight a gagging order preventing the press from naming the player, known only as "CTB".

But Mr Justice Eady, who issued a temporary injunction in the case last month, ruled against the newspaper, arguing in a written statement that there was "no suggestion of any legitimate public interest in publishing such material" and that the player maintains a "reasonable expectation of privacy".

"As in so many 'kiss and tell' cases, it seems to me that the answer, at stage two, is not far to seek. Indeed, it was not even argued that publication would serve the public interest."

Eady states in his ruling that it is important to judge each case only on its own merits, and declared that there "can be no automatic priority accorded to freedom of speech".

He adds that: "It will rarely be the case that the privacy rights of an individual or of his family will have to yield in priority to another’s right to publish what has been described in the House of Lords as 'tittle-tattle about the activities of footballers' wives and girlfriends'".

Thomas, a former Miss Wales, complained last month that she had had no intention of revealing the affair but, unlike the footballer, "didn't have £50,000 to get an injunction". She said that as result she had not been able to protect her name and had been "thrown to the lions".

Today's ruling follows another recent injunction obtained by a married premier league footballer. According to a report by the Guardian, the injunction was obtained on Friday against News Group Newspapers.

Image by Shaun Anderson on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

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