Declan Arthurs v News Group Newspapers
A singer who appeared on the BBC’s reality talent show, Let it Shine, has lost his application for an interim injunction against the publisher of The Sun on Sunday. Declan Arthurs brought claims for misuse of private information and for breach of the Data Protection Act 1998 in respect of an article published by The Sun on Sunday in January 2017 which revealed that the Plaintiff’s father had convictions for terrorism offences. Following the lifting of reporting restrictions, it can be reported that the Northern Ireland Court of Appeal has upheld the High Court’s decision not to order an interim injunction in respect of the continued publication of the article.
The Court of Appeal’s decision confirmed that the Plaintiff did not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in respect of his association with his father’s criminal convictions. It reached that conclusion because (i) he was an adult at the relevant time; (ii) he had voluntarily put himself forward for a public competition to perform on television, therefore putting himself in the public eye; (iii) when asked by the programme’s producers, he had not said that he wanted to keep his family’s background private, but instead had given selective information about his family background; (iv) his relationship with his father would have been well known in his local area; and (v) the link with his father had previously been disclosed in another newspaper, albeit without setting out the detail of his convictions. The application for an interim injunction under s.10 of the DPA was not pursued on appeal as the letter relied on by the Plaintiff to give requisite notice under that section did not mention the DPA.
Jonathan Scherbel-Ball was Junior Counsel for the Defendant, instructed by Ciaran O’Shiel of A&L Goodbody.