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Queen wins injunction to stop Mirror articles
( 2003-11-21 09:12) (Times)

Britain's Queen  Elizabeth II Thursday won a temporary High Court injunction preventing the Daily Mirror from publishing further revelations about the Royal Household.

Ryan Parry, a journalist from the newspaper, had infiltrated Buckingham Palace after he successfully applied for a footman's position.

The newspaper has published embarrassing details of his observations over the last two days.

The injunction, which applies to all of the media, was granted until 4.30pm on Monday in order to give lawyers representing the Mirror a chance to prepare their case for a full hearing.

Mr Justice Lewison said that the Queen¡¯s lawyers had a "real prospect" of succeeding in her claim that Mr Parry breached the confidentiality terms in his employment contract, which the journalist signed when he started work in the Royal Household.

The judge said the Queen was likely to establish at a full hearing that any further publication should not be allowed.

He rejected the newspaper¡¯s argument that the material it was publishing was already in the public domain through books written by people such as Paul Burrell, the former royal butler.

The judge also said that he made his decision under "well established" contract law and said contractual rights could be an exception to the principle of freedom of expression under the Human Rights Act.

David Pannick QC, representing the Attorney General, who is bringing the action on behalf of the Queen, who cannot take action in her own courts, said that Mr Parry's breach of contract had resulted in "obvious and unjustified intrusions" into the private life of the Queen and other members of the Royal household.

Mr Pannick emphasised that neither the Lord Goldsmith QC, the Attorney-General, nor the Queen, had any wish to "stifle discussion" about the adequacy of security arrangements at Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle or anywhere else.

"But it is plain, as I shall show you, that the articles go far beyond any such material", he said.

The paper has claimed its infiltration of the Palace and Windsor Castle represented a worrying breach of security in the run-up to the current US state visit by President Bush.

Mr Parry spent two months in the service of the royal household before revealing his true identity after watching the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh greet Mr Bush and his wife, Laura, in the grounds of the palace when they arrived for their state visit on Tuesday.

The undercover reporter highlighted flaws in security in 15 pages of reports in the Mirror yesterday, which also included photographs of the royal apartments and sensational details of the habit of the royals themselves.

Fresh revelations in today's Mirror gave yet more insight into the lives of the royal at Windsor, which Parry also had full access to, including the Queen's own private rooms.

The Queen has also agreed to the most extensive independent review of security yet as a result of the security breach.

The Security Commission, headed by Dame Elizabeth Butler-Sloss, will conduct the inquiry, which will have full access to the palace and its staff. An interim report is expected to be published by Christmas.

In 1990, the Queen¡¯s solicitors obtained an injunction preventing a magazine from publishing extracts of a book by Malcolm Barker, the former Buckingham Palace storeman.

Eight pages had to be removed from each of the 8,000 British editions of Paris Match magazine, just hours before it was due to go on sale. The book was already on sale in Canada and America.

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