Thursday, October 06, 2011

The Daily Mail's invasion of privacy? The case of Carina Trimingham

In what is the fourth privacy action taken against a UK newspaper in the past ten years, the partner of cabinet minister Chris Huhne is seeking damages from the Daily Mail after it published details about her sexual history. Her barrister told the high court that Carina Trimingham had a reasonable expectation of privacy and more significantly, as was reported in the Guardian, that the 'perjorative' references to her sexuality were a breach of section 12 of the Press Complaints Commission code of practice which "makes it absolutely clear that a person's sexuality ought to be mentioned unless genuinely relevant to the story". Trimingham’s sexuality clearly was not relevant in any of the eight articles printed by the Mail over the summer of 2010 detailing her affair with Chris Huhne. She claims to have suffered huge distress and embarrassment due to the Mail’s conduct.

Associated Newspapers, the Mail’s publisher, defended the paper, arguing that the idea that Trimingham should be left alone because she is a private individual and not involved in political life is problematic. Trimingham was Huhne’s press officer when he was campaigning to be leader of the Liberal Democrats in 2007, and in the 2010 general election. No verdict has yet been reached.

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