Page last updated at 16:30 GMT, Monday, 14 July 2008 17:30 UK

Mosley session 'not hanky-spanky'

Max Mosley
Mr Mosley says his life has been devastated by the paper's story

Motorsport boss Max Mosley has tried to make a sadomasochistic sex session with five women sound like "nothing more than hanky-spanky", a court has heard.

In his closing speech to the High Court, Mark Warby, for the News of the World, said witnesses had attempted to make it sound "like a worthy activity".

Mr Mosley, 68, is suing for breach of privacy after it alleged the session had a Nazi-theme, which he disputes.

Mr Justice Eady reserved judgement and his decision is expected next week.

Mr Mosley, the president of the International Automobile Federation (FIA), the governing body for sports such as Formula 1, is asking for an unprecedented award of punitive exemplary damages.

The paper's story was based on a secret video from one of the women who took part in the sex session in a rented flat in Chelsea, south-west London, in March.

Mr Warby said in court that witnesses had talked of "meetings" or "parties" and were uncomfortable using the word "brutal".

'Grotesque and depraved'

He said in the evidence for Mr Mosley - the son of the 1930s Fascist leader Sir Oswald Mosley - there had been an attempt "to present it as some kind of worthy activity attended by the most strict health and safety precautions as though it was all being carried out under the guidance of the Bondage and Sadomasochism Regulatory Authority.

"It was even compared with cowboys and Indians, as though it was nothing more than a dressing-up party for grown-ups.

"There was an attempt, we suggest quite deliberately, to turn it all into some kind of farce, or to make it sound like a tremendous giggle."

The defendant's motivation was to publish a scandalous expose. End of story. Nothing else.
James Price QC

The newspaper's case was that the events were "truly grotesque and depraved", he added.

There was no basis for punitive damages, he added, because the newspaper honestly believed it was a legitimate story.

Mr Warby also asked why Mr Mosley had tried to cover up the session by deleting e-mails if there had been nothing Nazi about it.

He added: "If it's not meant to be Nazi, then what on Earth is it meant to be?"

Mr Warby said Mr Mosley was addicted to sadomasochism, spending 75,000 on it in one year.

'Rushed into print'

Mr Mosley's counsel, James Price QC, called on Mr Justice Eady to make an award of exemplary damages "to show that the law cannot be mocked as it was in this case".

Compensation for intrusion of privacy should be greater than awards for defamation "because invasion of privacy can never be repaired and the claimant has to live with it for the rest of his life", he said.

Mr Price said there was no evidence there had been any Nazi aspect to the film.

This would have been proved if the newspaper had translated the speech on the tape before "rushing into print", he said.

The QC added it was not accepted that if there had been any Nazi element it would have justified the intrusion or publication of the salacious detail and film.

He told the court: "The defendant's motivation was to publish a scandalous expose. End of story. Nothing else."

Mr Mosley has told the court previously that the publicity has been "totally devastating" for his wife of 48 years, and he could think of "nothing more undignified or humiliating" for his two sons to experience.

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