Carina Trimingham, the MP and ex-energy minister’s lover, has lost homophobia and privacy case against the Daily Mail
Carina Trimingham, the bisexual lover of former British energy minister, Chris Huhne, has lost her privacy and harassment claim against Associated Newspapers.
Trimingham hit the headlines in June 2010 when her affair with Huhne, the former secretary of state for energy and climate change, became public and he left his wife of 26 years.
Since then, Trimingham has been the subject of over 65 ‘highly unpleasant and hurtful’ articles and claims she was the victim of ‘crude and demeaning stereotypes’ about being bisexual.
The 44-year-old PR adviser sued for compensation and an injunction from the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday, both published by Associated Newspapers, and both often perceived as homophobic.
Trimingham’s lawyers said the stories were a ‘cataclysmic interference’ with her private life and made her sound like a ‘sexual deviant’.
She also told the High Court she had been portrayed as a ‘stern bisexual lesbian’ and a ‘spiky-haired Dr Marten-wearing sexual deviant’.
But she admitted she had sold sex stories to newspapers about Liberal Democrat leader and current UK Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and film star Russell Crowe.
High Court judge Mr Justice Tugendhat rejected her claims today (24 May).
He said her role as Huhne’s press agent and secret mistress had ‘limited’ her right to privacy.
And he ruled the articles were about matters of public interest and ‘within the range of what an editor could in good faith regard as relevant to the story’.
He added: ‘Ms Trimingham was not the purely private figure she claims to be.’
The judge also said Trimingham had not been ‘a good or reliable witness’.
Trimingham, who is insured, was ordered to pay £250,000 ($392,000 â‚¬311,000) within 14 days towards the estimated £410,000 ($643,000 â‚¬511,000) costs of Associated Newspapers.
Outside court, she said she was ‘extremely disappointed’. She said the judgment was ‘confused and wrong’ and amounted to ‘a blueprint for bullies and bigots’.
The judge refused her an appeal but Trimmingham indicated her lawyers would approach the Court of Appeal directly, rather than let the matter drop.
A spokesman for Associated Newspapers denied their coverage had amounted to bisexual hate.
He said: ‘This was an important example of the press exercising its right to free speech in relation to matters of significant public interest.
‘We are pleased that the court agreed with us and has today dismissed all of Miss Trimingham’s complaints.
‘The references to Miss Trimingham’s sexuality in our coverage were never pejorative, private or in any way homophobic.
‘Miss Trimingham chose to level some very serious charges against our journalists in this case. This judgment vindicates both our journalists and their journalism.’