Formula One: Mosley takes case to European court

11th January 2011, Comments 0 comments

Former world motorsport chief Max Mosley, who was embroiled in a sex scandal two years ago, said Tuesday he was "very confident" a European court would rule in his favour in a case seeking to impose curbs on press freedom in Britain.

The court opened a hearing Tuesday morning to consider whether newspapers and other publishers should be forced to warn individuals before publishing material about their private lives, giving people an opportunity to seek court orders preventing breaches of privacy.

"I think we got a very clear hearing," Mosley said after leaving the courtroom at the European Court of Human Rights.

"It's an impressive procedure, I've never seen it before and I think the way they do it is excellent because half an hour is really enough to summarise the arguments you already put in writing."

"We are very confident. The judges really understand what the questions are. And now it's up to them to decide."

Mosley, son of 1930s British fascist leader Sir Oswald Mosley, won a famous privacy case at London's High Court in July 2008 against British tabloid News of the World which alleged he took part in a Nazi-themed sadomasochistic orgy with prostitutes.

In March 2008, the Sunday newspaper published on its front page an article entitled "F1 boss has sick Nazi orgy with 5 hookers", according to the court.

The article's opening sentence read: "Formula 1 motor racing chief Max Mosley is today exposed as a secret sadomasochistic sex pervert".

Several pages inside the newspaper were devoted to the story which included still photographs taken from video footage secretly recorded by one of the participants in the sexual activities.

On March 30 and 31, 2008, the video was viewed over 1.4 million times, the online version of the article was visited over 400,000 times, and the print version of the newspaper circulated at the time with over three million copies.

Mosley, 70, admitted paying five women for the sex session but denied there was a Nazi theme, saying the session centred on a prison fantasy.

The court found in his favour and he was awarded 60,000 pounds (93,250 dollars, 72,150 euros) in damages against News Group Newspapers, owners of the News of the World.

Mosley's counsel, Lord Pannick QC, is bidding to persuade the human rights judges in Strasbourg that despite the financial award made to his client English law has failed to respect his private life, as required by article 8 of the human rights convention.

"We're not saying that the law should be changed just on account of my case," Mosley said Tuesday.

"But where somebody's privacy is going to be breached, he should have an opportunity to go before a court, rather than the decision simply by a newspaper, whether their privacy is destroyed or not."

"I have no idea (if we're gonna win). I've been around courts in my earlier days and you never know.

"All I can say is provided the arguments put properly on both sides I'm sure we'll get a good result," he said.

A ruling by the court is not expected for several months.

Mosley was succeeded as FIA president by his chosen man Jean Todt of France in October 2009 after heading the motorsports federation for 16 years.

Todt is a former head of Ferrari in Formula One.

© 2011 AFP

0 Comments To This Article