UK Supreme Court approves pianist's sexual abuse memoir

AP News
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Posted: May 20, 2015 7:44 AM
UK Supreme Court approves pianist's sexual abuse memoir

LONDON (AP) — Britain's Supreme Court has ruled that a pianist may publish a memoir detailing sexual abuse he suffered as a child, despite his ex-wife's privacy concerns.

The court on Wednesday sided with John Rhodes and lifted a lower court's injunction that had prevented his book from being published.

His ex-wife had argued that their 12-year-old son suffers from a number of health issues and could be caused serious harm by the publication. The Court of Appeal granted her request for a temporary injunction in October.

The 40-year-old Rhodes is an accomplished classical pianist who has spoken in the past of the impact childhood sexual abuse has had on his life.

Supported by his friend, the actor Benedict Cumberbatch, outside the court, he called the ruling "a victory for freedom of speech."

He said that if the Supreme Court had allowed the injunction to stand, others could have used similar tactics to prevent publication.

"We do not ban books in this country," he said, adding that by telling his story of sexual abuse he encouraging other victims to "tell someone" rather than hide the truth.

He said his young son will not be reading the memoir, which is not intended for children.

Cumberbatch called the ruling a "very emotional moment" and a vindication of his friend's position.

Rhodes had also received support from writers Tom Stoppard, Colm Toibin, David Hard and Stephen Fry, who signed an earlier letter calling the injunction a "significant threat to freedom of expression."

They warned it could lead to future censorship on similar grounds.

Rhodes' identity had been kept secret during earlier proceeding because of reporting restrictions that have now been lifted.