Supreme Court overturns injunction to prevent publication of autobiography


The Supreme Court has unanimously overturned an injunction that prevented a well-known musician, James Rhodes, from publishing an autobiography describing his experience as a victim of serious childhood sexual abuse.  The Court of Appeal had banned the publication under the obscure “Wilkinson v Downton tort” on the basis that “vividly descriptive” passages within the book were likely to cause the author’s son psychological harm if he came across them online.  The Supreme Court ruled that this approach was wrong in principle. The Supreme Court held that the right to publish true autobiographical information was justification in itself, and that an injunction restraining “graphic description” rather than specific information was unsustainable.  Hugh Tomlinson QC, Sara Mansoori and Edward Craven represented the Appellant, James Rhodes. Antony White QC represented the publisher of the book, Canongate Books Ltd.