UK

Man loses privacy case over telling his wife about twins

Royal Courts of Justice
Image caption Justice Tugendhat found some of the evidence "particularly unimpressive"

A businessman has failed in his High Court bid to prevent his wife being told of the birth of his twins from a secret relationship.

The company director, who is in his 70s, and the woman with whom he had a relationship, were denied permission to block disclosure.

The man said his second wife and his grown-up children would be "shattered" by the revelations.

But the judge said he would not block the "bare facts" of the relationship.

The twin babies are due in a few weeks.

In written evidence, the man dentified only as SKA, said: "I am certain, for example, that my children would be devastated and would not speak to me if they were given this information."

The Russian woman, identified as PLM, who is a UK resident, had a five-year relationship with the man.

She said the news of the children was known only to a very small group of trusted friends, and SKA would not be registered as their father.

The judge granted an harassment and a privacy injunction sought by the pair which covers photography, financial information and intimate details.

But Justice Tugendhat said: "The birth of babies is a normal topic of such conversations, and there is no reason why it should not be. So too with talk about who is in a relationship with whom."

The court heard that in November SKA had been approached by an associate of an alleged blackmailer, identified only as CRH.

CRH gave him print-outs of emails sent by PLM and a memory stick of photos of her outside SKA's address. A letter demanded £1.5 million for them to be destroyed.

SKA hired private investigators, contacted the police, and sought a civil injunction.

He told the court he was concerned not to endanger his wife's poor health.

'Unimpressive' evidence

But the judge said evidence about his concern for his wife was "particularly unimpressive".

Justice Tugendhat said: "He does not explain how he claims to know that she does not know. Wives and partners do not have to declare it when they believe that they are being deceived.

"Claimants have a tendency to confuse the interests of their wives and partners with their own interests."

It was unlikely the information could be kept from SKA's first family for long, the judge said.

The judge said the case raised questions which had not been fully considered by the courts before, and anonymity was necessary as it was in the public interest to disclose the explanation of the court's reasons.