Clarkson abandons 'pointless' gag order on ex-wife
Published 28/10/2011 | 05:00
'Top Gear' presenter Jeremy Clarkson has abandoned an injunction to prevent allegations about his private life being published.
The gagging order banned the publication of personal details, including a claim by his first wife Alexandra Hall that they had an affair after he married his current wife Frances.
The BBC star, who took out the injunction at the High Court last autumn, decided to lift it because it was "pointless" and "injunctions don't work".
It is claimed that the order banned the media from reporting "sexual or other intimate acts or dealings" between Clarkson and his first wife as well as the presenter's "private thoughts and feelings, his health and other financial affairs".
Clarkson (51) said his ex-wife was now free to tell her story, adding that "people can either believe it or not, it's up to them".
"I've overturned my own injunction -- how cool is that? Injunctions don't work, they're completely pointless and unbelievably expensive. And due to a new interpretation of the law you might have to go to trial if you take an injunction out and that's even more expensive.
"I thought 'Just let her run about saying what she wants to say' and people can say 'I believe that or I don't believe it'. Either way it makes no difference to me, it's as simple as that.
"Frankly I've got more important things to worry about than a woman I was married to for five minutes 30 years ago. So now I have no stress of an injunction and I can look Ian Hislop in the eye."
The move comes six months after BBC presenter Andrew Marr also dropped a High Court injunction.
Explaining why he chose to unmask himself, Clarkson said: "One, most importantly, injunctions don't work.
"You take out an injunction against somebody or some organisation and immediately news of that injunction and the people involved and the story behind the injunction is in a legal-free world on Twitter and the internet. It's pointless.
"Secondly, you used to be able to take out an injunction and then just sit on it. But as a result of a recent court case you are now ultimately forced by the courts to go to trial -- which is unbelievably expensive.
"If you win, news leaks out on the internet."
Clarkson went on to say he regretted taking out the injunction, adding: "There is also an assumption of guilt which goes hand in hand with an injunction.
"Thirdly, my mother was desperately ill at the time last year. But she had a scan last week and it's now entirely fixed."
The broadcaster is said to be spending the rest of the week 300 metres under the ocean on a nuclear submarine.
"My wife and I decided to let it go. My ex-wife is now free to tell her story and people can either believe it or not, it's up to them," he said.
"I will be on a nuclear submarine."
Max Clifford, who is representing Ms Hall, said: "She is delighted that the injunction has been withdrawn."
Several high-profile figures have taken out injunctions this year, including Chelsea and England footballer John Terry.
His super-injunction preventing the reporting of an alleged affair was overturned after the judge decided Terry's primary concern had been to protect his reputation with his commercial sponsors, rather than his privacy.