Gosh, what a legal week this has been! In all the flurry, I’ve not yet posted the judgment in which Eady J refused Max Mosley an injunction against the News of the World. Paragraph 4 of the judgment describes the video at issue in the hilariously neutral terms typical of the judiciary:

I was given a copy of the edited footage… It is very brief, containing shots of Mr Mosley taking part in sexual activities… and it also covers the tea break… The session seems to have been devoted mainly to activities which were conveniently described as “S and M”… The very brief extracts which I was shown seemed to consist mainly of people spanking each other’s bottoms.

Yes, quite. Actually there are some serious issues here, though. I’m not sure, myself, whether it’s really right to see using prostitutes as part of your private life – but leave that to one side. The judge accepts that the paper, by publishing this video on its website, intrudes into Mosley’s private life, and demeans him, yet he refuses an injunction, when balancing his article 8 rights against the paper’s freedom of expression, because the video is so widely available (eg on YouTube) that the exercise would be futile.

Mm. If this is the respect people’s private lives get, then is article 8 of any value, really, against a national newspaper? Can’t it circumvent the law easily simply by distributing copies in advance of its own publication? And how does this attitude to the rule of law fit with the judicial implacability in the face of those who’d circumvent justice, in yesterday’s Corner House case? It certainly would have served a purpose for the judge to deny News Group the ability to attract visitors to its website using this video, even if they can see it elsewhere.