The first claimant was Mr Aaron Wan-Bissaka, a footballer with Manchester United F.C. The second claimant was his partner.
The defendant was a former partner of the first claimant. Their relationship had ended in December 2019.
On 27 October 2020, the claimants’ first child was born. The claimants had kept the pregnancy private to their families and close friends. Nine days before the birth, on 18 October 2020, the defendant published an Instagram post, thanking those who had supported her relationship with the first claimant “for the last three years”, congratulating the claimants on the impending birth, and commenting that “[a] new life is always a blessing”. The defendant tagged the second claimant’s Instagram account in the post, meaning that it would appear on her timeline and she would be linked to its content.
The next day, on 19 October 2020, the defendant published a further post on Instagram. This consisted of a screenshot of messages between her and the first claimant.
News of the pregnancy was subsequently published in the UK media, accompanied by reporting which the claimants complained was inaccurate. In a Letter of Claim to the defendant, their solicitors sought undertakings that she would not publish any further information or material concerning her former relationship with the first claimant not already in the public domain. In an email response, the defendant asserted that she had “every right” to publish material, given the “traumatic experience both mentally & physically” that she had suffered. On 22 October 2020, she published a further, single-sentence post on Instagram: “I Will NOT Be Silenced!”
The claimants applied for an interim injunction restraining the defendant from publishing further private messages and photographs from the period of her relationship with the first claimant, and an injunction to prevent further harassment of the claimants and breaches of their privacy.
At a remote hearing on 6 November 2020, Nicklin J granted the defendant an adjournment, to enable her to obtain legal advice and representation. The defendant provided a limited undertaking, which was to expire three days later. The defendant did not attend the resumed hearing on 9 November 2020.