Sunday, July 27, 2008

End Of A Spanking Good Yarn

Not since the trials of Oscar Wilde in the 1890s has the Old Bailey seen a show quite like this. It had everything. Celebrity, sex, intrigue, surprising twists and turns and important issues of press censorship and morals. 

No royals this time but everything else, including hidden cameras, MI5 and the new Miss Whiplash. The Greatest Show On Earth, from Formula One boss, Max Mosley and the News of the World, didn't disappoint.

This case, while not libel but a privacy case, centred on Mosley, son of 1930s fascist leader Sir Oswald Mosley, and his sadomasochistic sex sessions. The News of the World had said Mosley had taken part in a "sick Nazi orgy". Mosley said there was nothing 'nazi' about it.

Apparently Mosley had been at it for years but not the Nazi uniform bit and we were given all the details. There were some disappointments though. 

A woman secretly filmed the sex session with Mosley with a camera hidden in her bra. True to form she was known only as the mysterious 'Woman E'. Why couldn't she be called Madame X? Maybe that name's already taken. 

And she couldn't come to court because of her "emotional and mental state". But there's a happy ending. She's now made a full recovery and the family-friendly Daily Mail has a few photos of her and there's an interview on Sky News and one today with her husband, James Bondage, in the Sunday Times. The newspaper calls him 'Paul' (not his real name).

What did emerge was that she's the wife of an MI5 officer. MI5, whose offices are in that big Soviet style building on the Thames close to the, er, basement flat where 'it' all happened. What on earth is MI5 doing mixed up in all this? Spooky. Is he really called James Bondage? Maybe that's just normal behaviour after an all-boy's public school and Cambridge?

Madame X (or Woman E, or even Michelle) said: "I can only apologise for what has happened but it is not going to take back all the damage that has been done." Presumably she didn't mean to Mosley's bottom.

The whole show was conducted by Mr Justice Eady, who has a track record, according to Private Eye, of protecting, in the English libel courts, a certain rich and powerful Saudi, from books about him that are only published in the US. 

That's why big English libel and privacy cases are so good. You can't make it up.

In the end it was down to the dastardly EU and their cunning human rights laws wot did it for the NoW. That, and maybe the fact that Mosley's dad was a member of the English aristocracy who don't like their dirty washing hung out in public. 

The judge ruled the Nazi uniform bit didn't stand up in court and so the paper had breached his privacy, according to these EU driven laws. Mosley, already damaged, was awarded more damages. 

So it's all right for an elected official to get up to all sorts of hanky spanky panky as long as everyone first takes off their uniforms. 

And it's all right to report it all on the BBC 6 o'clock news before the kids go to bed. At least we now know that S&M isn't some High Street store selling cheap clothes.

Many moons ago, this reporter filed a story for the News of the World about a top Tory's links to a neo-Nazi,  para-military organisation called Column 88. Despite the hard evidence, NoW lawyers refused to clear it. Then a photo of this guy turned up wearing a Nazi chamber pot style helmet, standing in front of a swastika. Bingo! Off we went. The NoW never learns does it.

Picture: The Bleacher Report

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