The application succeeded in part: the injunction was varied to permit disclosure by NGN of the job description of VBN, but not disclosure of her name.
The Judge was not satisfied that VBN would establish that she ever had a reasonable expectation of privacy in respect of the bare fact of her relationship with the claimant.
However, disclosure of VBN’s name would be a significant intrusion into her private and family life from which she was entitled to be protected. But, while publication of her job description would lead many people to identify her, and would also be an intrusion into her private and family life, the information was an “important feature” of the story.
Further, on VBN’s evidence, her name had already become known to some of her acquaintances, in some cases by reason of publications outside the press and broadcast media.
The additional publication likely to follow from publication of her role was not likely to be so great a further intrusion into her private life as to make it necessary and proportionate to interfere with the Article 10 rights of NGN
Moreover, On the issue of public interest, the judge said there should be public discussion of the circumstances in which it is proper for a chief executive – or other person holding public office or exercising official functions – to carry on a sexual relationship with an employee in the same organisation.
He added that he was satisfied that Sir Fred or VBN would be likely to establish that any trial judge should make no finding of any breach of the RBS Group Code of Conduct on Integrity Matters as there was no evidence in court of such a breach.
He was also satisfied that Sir Fred or VBN would be likely to defeat any case that the relationship had an impact on the financial difficulties of RBS as this was “speculation by NGN”.
VBN was granted a stay to pursue an appeal over disclosure of the job description pending an application for permission to the Court of Appeal.