Carina Trimingham, Chris Huhne's Partner, To Appeal High Court Privacy Case

Chris Huhne's Partner Appeals Lost Privacy Case

MP Chris Huhne's partner Carina Trimingham has launched a bid to appeal against a High Court judge's rejection of her privacy and harassment claim against Associated Newspapers.

Her lawyer Charlotte Harris, a partner with law firm Mishcon de Reya, confirmed today that Trimingham's legal team had filed an application for permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal.

The case is listed to be dealt with at some time between mid August and late October.

Carina Trimingham has launched a bid to appeal her lost privacy case

Trimingham sued Associated Newspapers over a series of stories in the Daily Mail, claiming they amounted to a breach of her right to privacy and harassment under the Protection from Harassment Act.

Her affair with Huhne, the former secretary of state for energy and climate change, became public in June 2010 and he left his wife of 26 years.

Trimingham, a 44-year-old PR adviser, sought compensation and an injunction over 65 "highly unpleasant and hurtful" articles which had appeared since then.

Her lawyers told Mr Justice Tugendhat at the High Court that articles in the Daily Mail constituted a "cataclysmic interference" with her private life.

Associated Newspapers argued that there was an important public interest in the stories.

Mr Justice Tugendhat rejected Trimingham's claim, saying she was not the "purely private figure she claims to be", and that her "reasonable expectation of privacy has become limited" because of both her relationship with Huhne and what she herself had disclosed in the past.

Trimingham is appealing on a number of grounds.

It is claimed that Mr Justice Tugendhat failed properly to interpret numerous references in the stories to Trimingham's sexuality as pejorative, was mistaken in concluding that such references would not have distressed her, and wrongly emphasised the issue of whether she was a robust character in the context of her dealings with the press and media.

The judge is also said to have given "excessive deference" to Associated Newspapers' view of "its right to publish unpleasant, pejorative and/or irrelevant references to Ms Trimingham's sexuality".

It is also said that he "erred fundamentally" by appearing to take the view that someone who was not the main subject of a newspaper article could not claim to have been targeted by the reporting.

On the issue of the claim for misuse of private information, it is argued that the judge was wrong to hold that Ms Trimingham was not herself a private individual because of her work and relationship with Mr Huhne.

Mr Justice Tugendhat's judgment, it is argued, appears to suggest that anyone who works in contact with the media, public figures or political campaigns cannot be regarded as a private individual even if he or she is effectively unknown to the public, has no personal public profile and has deliberately chosen to remain in the background.

It is also argued that the judge confused Huhne's status as a public figure with Trimingham's position, and that his public status should not have reduced her right to privacy in relation to her sexual past, which was unrelated to her relationship with him.

Mr Justice Tugendhat is also argued to have been mistaken in dealing with the issue of whether Trimingham had a reasonable expectation of privacy in relation to her private information, and whether there was nonetheless a sufficient public interest to justify its publication.

"I am very concerned that this judgment may become a blueprint for bullies and bigots. I intend to appeal."


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