Winslet’s husband in legal battle to halt publication of semi-naked photographs of him in fancy dress
Ned RocknRoll, 34, was pictured indulging in 'silly schoolboy antics'Photographs were discovered on a Facebook page
01:29 GMT, 8 January 2013
07:55 GMT, 8 January 2013
Kate Winslet’s husband yesterday attempted to ban photographs of him semi-naked in fancy dress from being published.
Ned RocknRoll, who married the Hollywood actress a few weeks ago, was in London’s High Court to try to ban a tabloid newspaper from printing the pictures taken of him indulging in ‘silly schoolboy antics’.
The images of the 34-year-old, who is a nephew of Sir Richard Branson, were discovered on a Facebook page.
Kate Winslet's husband Ned RocknRoll, pictured together, yesterday attempted to ban photographs of him semi-naked in fancy dress from being published
RocknRoll, who changed his surname from Edward Abel Smith, was granted a temporary injunction last Thursday, shortly after The Sun newspaper contacted Winslet’s publicist about the pictures.
The newspaper yesterday contested the injunction and the case will continue today.
The Sun’s publisher, News International subsidiary News Group Newspapers, argued the pictures, which were taken from a publicly accessible Facebook profile belonging to RocknRoll’s friend, James Pope, were already publicly available.
The group also said that RocknRoll is a public figure and has a lower reasonable expectation of privacy than an ordinary private citizen.
RocknRoll’s lawyer, David Sherborne, told the court yesterday that the pictures of a ‘partly naked’ Rocknroll in a fancy dress costume were taken at a private party, which had the theme ‘outrageous’ and would cause distress to him if they were printed.
RocknRoll, pictured leaving court, was granted a temporary injunction last Thursday, shortly after The Sun newspaper contacted Winslet's publicist about the pictures
Mr Sherborne told the court: ‘This application is not to hide some guilty secret, as I said in the interim hearing. It is not to keep something secret. The claimant is here because the defendant seeks to invade his privacy.
‘It was a private party with a private guestlist at a private family home so it is hard to see these photographs as anything other than private family photos.’
He told the court and judge Mr Justice Briggs that the photos showed Rocknroll indulging in ‘silly schoolboy antics at this fancy dress party. It is embarrassing because of what you can see in these pictures.’
Mr Sherborne added that RocknRoll was ‘horrified’ at the prospect of the pictures being published.
He explained that they were never intended for public consumption and would cause ‘considerable embarrassment and humiliation’ for Winslet and her children, who would face bullying and taunting if they were made public.
He also said that he was not a role model and had been a ‘relative nobody’ prior to his marriage to Winslet in December.
RocknRoll, who was previously head of marketing for Branson’s Virgin Galactic space-exploration firm before leaving to work as a sheep farmer, was in court wearing a blue pinstripe suit, married the Titanic star in a low-key ceremony in New York in December.
The hearing follows the publication of a report in March last year by the Joint Committee on Privacy and Injunctions that found there was no case for a new privacy law and that cases should still be judged by the courts on an individual basis.
RocknRoll is the latest in a long line of well-known figures to use an injunction to prevent the publication of detail of his private life.
In 2011, Sir Fred Goodwin, the disgraced banker who took the Royal Bank of Scotland to the brink of collapse, was revealed as another figure who had taken out a controversial High Court super-injunction.
The order, which bans mention of matters Sir Fred wishes to keep secret, was disclosed in the Commons by Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming using parliamentary privilege.
In 2011, footballer Ryan Giggs took out a super-injunction banning newspapers from printing details of his affair with model Imogen Thomas, despite his identity being widely discussed across the internet.
Hemming again used parliamentary privilege to name the player, saying 75,000 people had already outed him on Twitter.