Celebrity Courts

The Royal Courts of JusticeBy Dave Woodhall.

After days, or it may be weeks, of rumours, John Hemming finally blew open the latest and biggest superinjunction story on Monday afternoon by naming Ryan Giggs in Parliament.

Well done to John for doing it, and the best of luck to journalist Giles Coren, who may be facing prison for contempt of court in revealing the names earlier. The story has become increasing farcical as it has unfolded and may have hastened the end of superinjunctions – or for that matter, any other attempt to gag the press simply because wealthy and/or influential people might not like what’s being said about them.

It’s reckoned that there were 75,000 mentions of Giggs on Twitter alone. Newspapers and websites were pushing the boundaries of identity as far as they could go. I knew his identity, so did you if you could be bothered to find it out. It was utterly ridiculous to continue with this farce, as it is with the identity of the second player to take such steps. It will also, with a bit of luck, backfire on them rather spectacularly.

After all, interest in “Footballer has affair with C- list celebrity” would last about as long as her 15 minutes of fame. It’s going to be a much bigger and more protracted story now. And please spare me the heart-rending tale of how he did it to protect his family. I don’t suppose Mrs Giggs was attracted to Ryan on account of his good looks and personality. She married a rich and famous man who works in a profession full of rich, famous and arrogant young men. No-one forced her to get involved in such a lifestyle. As many people in our celebrity-obsessed society have found out, fame isn’t like running a bath. You can’t turn the tap on and off to suit. Speaking of which, bearing in mind that the story was always going to get out at some point, Giggs would have been better advised to spend his money buying his wife the biggest diamond in the shop rather than messing round with injunctions, whether super or otherwise.

Most importantly, the legal profession have done very well out of this saga. I’ve no idea what Giggs’ solicitors are earning but I would guess it’s a lot more than I do. Add this to the number of law firms involved in other similar cases and that’s not only a lot of money, it’s a lot of legal time that could be spent on more important matters. In my experience and contrary to public opinion, solicitors are not necessarily money-obsessed but do often have a strong belief in fair play. Maybe I’m being naive, but I believe most would rather work on a case that involved seeing justice done properly rather than helping a footballer use his wealth in a doomed attempt to maintain a false image. Hopefully John Hemming (who can now get on with being part of the government) has helped them take the first steps towards re-aligning our legal system as the egalitarian concept it should always be.

Can we have some real news now, please?

  • Read Richard Lutz’s take on the Giggs/Hemming injunction case here