Judge explains Stig ruling reasons

A judge, who refused to ban a book revealing the identity of Top Gear's The Stig, has explained his decision.

Mr Justice Morgan refused to grant the BBC an injunction blocking Ben Collins' autobiography at a private hearing in September.

The BBC had claimed that the publication of the book would breach confidentiality obligations.

Titled The Man In The White Suit, the autobiography was, however, published by HarperCollins on September 16.

The judge announced his reasons for the refusal, saying that although Mr Collins, 35, did owe a duty of confidentiality to the BBC, his identity was already in the public domain because of media coverage.

The identity of the The Stig was so generally accessible that it could no longer be regarded as confidential, he explained.

He said: "For all practical purposes, anyone who would have any interest in knowing the identity of The Stig now knows it. The identity of The Stig is no longer a secret and it is no longer confidential information.

"In the present case, the identity of Mr Collins as The Stig is in the public domain.

"If that has caused and/or will cause harm to the BBC, I do not see how any further harm will be caused to the BBC if Mr Collins is allowed to publish his autobiography in time for the 2010 Christmas market."

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