A 94 year old woman has been told by the High Court that she cannot speak to the press.
During a Court of Protection hearing, Mrs Justice Russell ruled the woman, referred to as ‘G’ in case reports, was not in a position to talk to the media.
The case was originally brought about by Redbridge Council, amid concerns G’s carers were getting her involved with the press “in order to further an agenda”.
G had made appearances at a protest and been taken to the Houses of Parliament over a “dispute with the local authority” after the council attempted to move her from her home.
The judge claimed the order was for G’s own protection.
“I have done so to protect the privacy of G who is old, frail and vulnerable. She has repeatedly told me she wants no further intrusion in her life. The purpose of this order is to protect her privacy and to protect her from intrusion.”
“I consider that the media is well able to report this case and express opinions on it but that it is necessary and proportionate to protect G from intrusion and from possible manipulation by those who are in close contact with her into exposure of her private affairs.”
The ruling was also backed up in a separate hearing by Mr Justice Cobb.
“It seems to me that, weighing these matters one against the other, it is not in G’s best interests for her to be able or permitted to communicate with the press at this stage; she has expressed at least ambivalent feelings, it appears, about the engagement of the media.”
“Until the court can take a clearer view about G’s capacity to make such relationships with the press it is, in my judgment, clearly in G’s best interests that I should make an interim order that she should not make such communications.”
Following this ruling, Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL), applied to be joined as party to the proceedings in order to allow them to communicate with G.
ANL are the publishers of the Daily Mail.
President of the Family Division Sir James Munby heard the application, calling it “more argumentative than factual”.
He said ANL’s argument that they should be joined as a party to the proceedings concerning G’s capacity had “no basis”.
“Quite apart from the rejection by those to whom this comment appears to be directed of any factual foundation for what is being said, this cannot be a ground for being allowed to participate in the proceedings.”
As a result, he dismissed ANL’s application.
Photo by Nikolai Vassiliev via Flickr.