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Privacy law: Celebrity chef wins damages from wife's family

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Potty-mouthed celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey has won a High Court case against his wife's family after proving that they had hacked into his personal computers to read private messages.

Mr Ramsey was awarded £250,000 in legal costs by the court, in a case which centred on whether his father-in-law and other relatives had hacked into his personal emails and company computers to read messages sent between him and his wife.

Mr Justice Briggs found that Mr Ramsey's father-in-law, Chris Hutcheson and other members of Mr Hutcheson's family were liable for a breach of confidence and ordered them to return all the documents that they had obtained as a result.

Mr Ramsey was said to feel "vindicated" by the win.

Details of the background to the case were revealed last year after the Court of Appeal lifted a super-injunction taken out by Mr Hutcheson to protect a secret double-life he had been leading.

Mr Hutcheson was subsequently sacked as chief executive of Mr Ramsey's company after it was discovered that he had raised a secret family of two children with his mistress, Frances Collins. Mr Hutcheson also has four children by his wife Greta, who was totally unaware of his affair. Mr Hutcheson was also accused of withdrawing over £1.4m from Gordon Ramsey Holdings to fund his secret second family and to make payments to another mistress.

Mr Ramsey launched his legal action earlier this year after discovering that dozens of personal messages between him and his wife had been read which contained details of their private lives, information about their children and plans for their holidays.

The other claims relating to the embezzlement of company funds and use of those funds to pay other mistresses will be heard in a separate trial later next year. All other parties deny the allegations made against them.

Related links:

Emails and privacy (FindLaw)

Find local privacy solicitors throughout the UK (FindLaw)

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