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John Hemming's Statement following Supreme Court upholding injunction

"I am surprised that the Supreme Court have upheld this injunction. The logical conclusion of this is that gossip about anyone with children will become a criminal offence subject to a potential penalty of 2 years's imprisonment.

"It is important to note that the injunction covers people talking in pubs, gossiping over the garden fence, or twittering on the internet. All of these could potentially see an application for committal for contempt of court. That comes with large amounts of legal costs and up to 2 years imprisonment. One would assume that it would not be assumed that this would only apply to claimants who have a large amount of money, but also everyone else. Such a constraint on freedom of speech is something that the House of Lords Judicial Committee of the last millennium would not have supported. I am surprised that the Supreme Court does.

"It is to be recognised that injunctions are still being used to cover up malpractice by public officials. I know of a live injunction at the moment that is doing exactly that. Obviously the government is in a position to pass legislation to free up speech in the UK. That is what needs to happen.

"Clearly the Supreme Court have not learnt from the lesson of King Canute that there are realities that it is not practical to resist. PJS and others should really study what happened in respect of Barbra Streisand when she tried to constrain freedom of speech. Lord Toulson is, of course, right.

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