Supreme Court dismisses appeal to restrain publication of appellant’s identity in PNM v Times Newspapers Ltd


In Khuja (formerly known as PNM) v Times Newspapers Ltd & Ors [2017] UKSC 49 the Supreme Court has dismissed an appeal by the appellant, Khuja, who was seeking an injunction preventing publication of his identity. Khuja had been arrested and bailed, but not charged, in Thames Valley Police’s “Operation Bullfinch”. This was an  investigation into organised child sex grooming and child prostitution in the Oxford area. He was identified at the criminal trial of other suspects who were charged. Two newspapers applied unsuccessfully to lift an order postponing publication of contemporaneous reports of the trial identifying him. When Khuja was de-arrested and released from police bail there was no jurisdiction to maintain the postponing order, so Khuja applied (unsuccessfully) for a High Court injunction to the same effect on privacy grounds.

The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal by a majority of 5-2. The majority considered that he had no reasonable expectation of privacy in the matters discussed at the public trial, in the course of which he was identified. In any event the public interest in open justice and court reporting had to prevail over any privacy interests of his as an individual.