Banned VIP child sex abuse memoirs: Supreme Court orders expedited hearing

There has been yet another important development in the extraordinary saga of a British court granting an injunction which banned a famous performing artist publishing his memoirs in which  he disclosed he was sexually abused as a child.

The excellent Inforrm blog reveals that the artist has won his case to appeal and the Supreme Court has granted an expedited hearing so it can be heard next month rather than waiting until the spring.

Inforrm reports : “The hearing of the appeal is listed in the week commencing 19 January 2015.

“As we reported last month, on 6 November 2014 the artist applied to the Supreme Court for permission to appeal against an order of Court of Appeal dated 9 October 2014 ([2014] EWCA Civ 1277) granting an interim injunction to restrain the publication of a book which deals with his art form and his recovery from the sexual abuse he suffered in his childhood and his consequential mental illness.   The full application to the Supreme Court can be read here [pdf].

The application for permission to appeal was supported by a written intervention made by free speech NGOs, English PEN, Article 19 and Index on Censorship.

On 9 December 2014, Lady Hale, Lord Carnwath and Lord Toulson granted the artist permission to appeal against the Court of Appeal’s decision and ordered an expedited hearing of the appeal.

We had a post in which Dan Tench expressed “shock and disbelief” at the Court of Appeal decision.  A number of prominent UK writers, including Sir Tom Stoppard and William Boyd, signed a letter from English PEN protesting at the banning of the book.”

The full application to the Supreme Court is well worth reading as it shows the author wants to share his experiences of his abuse, the mental trauma he suffered and how he was driven to self harm but was later in life able to come to terms with what happened to him. It also reveals how his love  of music helped him overcome the trauma.

The ban was granted after his ex-wife sought it to prevent his son, who lives abroad, and suffers from a number of medical conditions, from ever reading it. But it used obscure case law which the artist says amounted to a severe curtailment of freedom of expression, hence widespread support from famous writers to get this overturned.