My article about Smacks Mosley and his friends was consigned to an even deeper, darker dungeon than that for which it was intended after a court order was received at the end of May. The lawyers were kept very busy for some weeks, attempting to scrub the web of all references to the women involved, especially "Woman E" who seems to have been the most determined to disappear. She even managed to make her extensive archive vanish from WayBackMachine (although there is an Italian newspaper site, which I had better not link to, just in case the lawyers are looking, which still maintains an extensive photo-gallery of the lady in question showing off her collection of not-quite-Nazi uniforms). And in a new development, E has declined to testifiy. The Times reports that she has "reached such an emotional and mental state that it would be unfair and irresponsible to call her to the High Court as a witness," according to counsel for the News of the World. Make of that what you will.
For the time being, the legal restrictions remain in force. However, since most of the details which I so painstakingly tracked down in May have come out in open court over the past three days, there seems no danger in putting my original article back up. Sans photos, I'm afraid. Here's the link.
It's impossible to say for sure which way the case will go, but the tendency in recent years (and especially since the passing of the Human Rights Act) has been to incorporate more and more privacy-related restrictions into English law. Mr Justice Eady, who will decide this case, has himself been the presiding judge on several such occasions. I was also struck by the words of Max Mosley's barrister, James Price, in his opening speech:
It's not a surprise to me or to others who don't live in an ivory tower or a monastery or, I am sure, to your lordship, to learn that quite a lot of people, men and women, have a fascinated interest in this sort of thing.
Senior members of the English legal profession are not unknown in the demi-monde frequented by the ladies Max Mosley invited to the flat in Chelsea. The woman known as A used to specialise in courtroom scenarios, in which she would preside in the character of a judge by the name of "Lady Penelope". Various "miscreants" would be taken to her for sentencing, punishments to be administered without delay. I do not know for a fact that any of those appearing before her in this capacity were members of the bar, or even the judiciary. But I wouldn't be altogether surprised.