The claimant (“C”) brought a claim in defamation, misuse of private information and harassment against three defendants. The first and second defendants were sisters (“Ds 1 and 2”/ “the Ds”) and the third defendant (D3) was their brother.
The claim concerned D2’s allegation that, on the night of 24 August 2017, C raped her and D1’s allegation that, earlier on the same night, C sexually assaulted her (together “the first and second defendants’ allegations”). In April 2018, D2 reported the claimant to the police and, in July 2018, D1 did so. Following an investigation, on 4 February 2019 the police told C that they would take no further action.
C denied the first and second defendants’ allegations. The Ds averred that their allegations were true.
Prior to the issue of the claim, on 15 March 2019, C made an application without notice to the defendants for an interim injunction to restrain what was alleged to be the harassment of C by the Ds and the misuse of his private information.
Dingemans J refused to grant an injunction: CWD v MXN and others  EWHC 2553 (QB). However, he granted an anonymity order in the following terms permitting C to issue the proceedings anonymously.
The Ds sent an email to the court asking for their anonymity to be lifted. On 16 October 2019, Warby J made directions for further consideration of the anonymity order. The matter came on for hearing before Nicklin J on 21 November 2019. At that hearing, C made an oral application for a reporting restriction order and opposed the Ds’ request to lift their anonymity. Nicklin J gave directions for the issue and service of applications in respect of those issues, as well as giving case management directions.
Two applications were before the Court: i) an application by the Ds by which they sought to lift their own anonymity as defendants in the proceedings; and ii) an application by C for a reporting restriction order to be made under s.11 of the Contempt of Court Act 1981 to protect his anonymity in these proceedings.
The Judge also addressed the question whether any variation should be made to the order of Dingemans J (as he then was) made on 15 March 2019, insofar as it permitted the pseudonymisation in the proceedings of C and D3.
PA Media opposed the application for a reporting restriction order and submitted that the main thrust of C’s application for anonymity is to protect his reputation rather than his privacy, relying on the rule against prior restraint in Bonnard v Perryman  2 Ch 269.