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Naomi Campbell wins privacy case

Campbell said she felt
Campbell said she felt "shocked, angry, betrayed and violated" by the story  


LONDON, England -- Supermodel Naomi Campbell has won a groundbreaking privacy action in a British court against one of the country's biggest-selling daily newspapers.

But in a highly critical ruling, the judge said she had lied under oath and that he had felt obliged to consider her evidence "with caution."

The London-born model was not at the High Court in London for the ruling which also gave her £3,500 ($5,000) in damages.

Campbell, 31, sued The Mirror for breach of confidence and/or unlawful invasion of privacy after it published a photograph of her leaving a Narcotics Anonymous meeting in London in February last year.

Mr Justice Michael Morland ruled that she had succeeded in establishing breach of confidentiality and breach of the UK's Data Protection Act.

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CNN's Matthew Chance reports supermodel Naomi Campbell won a landmark privacy lawsuit against a British tabloid newspaper (March 27)

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Mirror editor Piers Morgan, speaking after the decision, said he believed the public had a right to know details of Campbell's private life. "I am quite happy to expose her," he said.

He said she had won "on a very small technical point of law," and the Mirror would consider appealing the against decision.

He said: "I think the whole thing is a complete joke... I was under the impression that we had exposed her as a drug addict, after she had repeatedly denied it, and that she had received treatment, and the judge said we can do that."

Asked whether he would appeal, Morgan said it was a possibility, but: "I'm bored with the whole thing.

"To be honest I wish the judge had ordered us never to write another story about Naomi Campbell, because the thought of having to write more stories about her drives me mad."

Campbell's lawyer Keith Schilling said his client was "delighted."

He said: "She is naturally delighted with the decision. The judge has found in her favour on all points.

"This is a landmark case -- it establishes that anyone in the public eye, whether through choice or inadvertently, is entitled to protection for their private lives."

The Mirror is one of Britain's biggest-selling daily newspapers
The Mirror is one of Britain's biggest-selling daily newspapers  

The case is regarded as another step in the bid to bring in a privacy law in the UK.

Paul Gilbert, a media law expert, said the court's verdict may end the sensational headlines and stories that define the London tabloids.

He told CNN: "What you will have are celebrities particularly rushing off and obtaining injunctions as soon as they get any sort of whiff of a story about their private life that they don't want the public to know."

Campbell spent more than a day in the witness box in February. Morgan also gave evidence.

In her evidence, Campbell admitted being a drug addict but said the front-page story and photograph showing her leaving the NA meeting left her feeling "shocked, angry, betrayed and violated."

The newspaper said that the case, which was heard without a jury, was about "whether the equitable right of confidentiality permits celebrities to manipulate their public image to their own advantage."

Although he ruled in her favour, the judge was critical of Campbell.

He said she had lied in interviews about her drug addiction while her assertions to him in evidence that a hospital visit was caused by an allergic reaction rather than a drug overdose were "deliberate lies."

"I am satisfied that she lied on oath about the reasons for her rushed admission to hospital in Gran Canaria and I have doubts about the accuracy of her accounts of the assault on her assistant and her dealings with Mr Matthew Freud, the publicist," he said in his judgment.

"She has shown herself to be, over the years, lacking in frankness and veracity with the media, and manipulative and selective in what she has chosen to reveal about herself."

Earlier this month Britain's Lord Chief Justice, Lord Woolf overruled a High Court order, which had prevented another British national newspaper -- The Sunday People -- publishing details of a married professional footballer's love affairs.

The judge said public figures had a right to privacy but they had to expect their private lives to be written about.



 
 
 
 



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