The Sun on Sunday has denied a celebrity's boyfriend had "any reasonable expectation" of privacy when he engaged in a "solo sex act".

Daniel Hooper, a man romantically linked with actress Kym Marsh, is suing the News UK title for up to £50,000 in a High Court privacy claim.

But News Group Newspapers, for The Sun on Sunday, has filed a defence stating that its freedom of expression rights under Article 10 outweigh Hooper's right to privacy under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The Sun on Sunday reported last year that Hooper had performed a "solo sex act" whilst having a video conversation on Skype with an un-named "glamour girl".

It said the 19 April 2014 edition of Britain's Got Talent was playing in the background and that this was the same day on which it reported Hooper was "dating" Marsh.

Hooper's claim form described the story as being "incredibly intrusive" and said he had "suffered substantial distress and embarrassment".

The claim said The Sun on Sunday had "displayed a flagrant disregard for [Hooper's] right to respect for his intimate private life" and had reported the story in a "sensational and especially intrusive manner".

NGN denied in its defence that Hooper "had any reasonable expectation that the information would remain private" or that it owed him "any duty of confidence".

The story, it noted, did not contain pictures of the encounter or a link to the footage. The defence said: "It contained no graphic or intimate details of what took place."

NGN said the information was "trivial".

The defence document said the "glamour girl" was a "stranger" to Hooper who took "no steps to verify who" she was or "whether she would keep information imparted to her private or confidential".

The Sun on Sunday said Hooper had no way of knowing whether she was alone during the encounter. "It is obvious, and must have been obvious to [Hooper], that it was very easy for the girl, or anyone else who had access to her computer, to record the web sex he had with her without him knowing."

It said the expectation the footage would remain private was not "reasonable".

In his claim, Hooper appeared to compare the recording of his "solo sex act" to "revenge porn". The claim said: "Even the defendant's journalists have recognised how wrong it is for one party to a sexual encounter to disclose details and recording of such activities without the consent of the other party and the distress this causes victims, launching a campaign in The Sun and The Sun on Sunday newspapers in October 2014 for those guilty of disclosing 'revenge porn' to be jailed."

The Sun on Sunday's defence "denied that this has any relevance to these proceedings. There is no pleaded basis for any assertion that the disclosure to [The Sun on Sunday] of the information was motivated by revenge".

The defence noted Sun journalists had contacted a representative of Marsh before publication for comment and included in the story a denial from Hooper that he was in a relationship with Marsh at the time of the video recording.

NGN denied a breach of Article 8 (right to privacy) of the European Convention on Human Rights and that, if it did, The Sun on Sunday's rights under Article 10 (freedom of expression) would outweigh this.

It said: "The continued commercial viability of the Sun on Sunday, and therefore its ability to exercise its rights under Article 10(1), depends on it continuing to publish stories which will engage the interest of its readers. The Sun is a popular tabloid newspaper. These therefore include stories such as that contained within the article complained of."



Source: PressGazette RSS Feed