Chelsea defender John Terry has failed in his attempt to prevent public coverage of an alleged affair with a team-mate's girlfriend.
A judge in London's High Court has lifted a so-called "super injunction" even though the England captain claimed that the resulting invasion of his privacy would be a breach of the Human Rights Act.
Last week Terry had instructed his law firm Schillings to act after being notified that a Sunday tabloid was set to publish the claims.
The player's lawyers had been granted a strict gagging order which forbade the press from even acknowledging the story's existence.
Mr Justice Tugendhat, sitting in the High Court, explained: “I do not consider that an interim injunction is necessary or proportionate having regard to the level of gravity of the interference with the private life of the applicant that would occur in the event that there is a publication of the fact of the relationship, or that [the applicant] can rely in this case on the interference with the private life of anyone else.”
The legal application by Terry's lawyers was listed on court papers as “LNS and persons unknown”, according to the London Evening Standard.
The woman involved in the case also made a statement.
“I understand there have been claims concerning a relationship between LNS and myself," it read.
“Whilst I do not make any admission as to the truth or otherwise of such rumours, speculation concerning [us] is private and I agree to keep such information private and confidential. If I receive any inquiries from the media concerning the above I agree that I shall notify LNS's business partner.”
Many in Britain see the decision by the court as a victory for the principles of a free press, with a growing feeling amongst many that celebrities are being granted such gagging orders a little easily.
High Court judges have been accused of introducing a privacy law without it being passed by Parliament.
“A free press should be the cornerstone of a free country and a free society and I'm disturbed that injunctions are being grantd willy-nilly to the wealthy and powerful," Conservative MP Philip Davies said today.
Terry's reputation has suffered from a string of scandals and taboid revelations including claims that his mother was caught shoplifting and his father was filmed supplying drugs to an undercover reporter.
In 2008 Terry was named 'Dad of the year' by condiment brand Daddies sauce.
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