By: Beth Gardiner, Associated Press Writer
(AP) Supermodel Naomi Campbell won her privacy case Wednesday against a British tabloid newspaper that published a photo of her leaving a drug treatment center.
Justice Sir Michael Morland awarded the 31-year-old, London-born model $5,000 damages and told The Mirror newspaper to pay her court costs.
Campbell, who was not in London’s High Court for the ruling, had sued MGN Ltd., publisher of The Mirror, for breach of confidence and unlawful invasion of privacy after the tabloid published a photo of her leaving a Narcotics Anonymous meeting in London a year ago.
Campbell had told the court she felt “shocked, angry, betrayed, and violated” by the story.
Her lawyer, Keith Schilling said he had discussed the verdict with the model, who was in Los Angeles.
“She is naturally delighted with the decision,” he said. “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.”
Mirror editor Piers Morgan said the ruling was ridiculous and mocked the size of the damages.
“Supermodels don’t even get out of bed for less than $14,000 so she doesn’t even have enough to pull back the covers,” he said outside court.
Morgan had told the court the newspaper had taken a sympathetic approach to Campbell’s problem and said she was not entitled to the same privacy as normal men and women because she used the media to promote her image as a model and to discuss intimate details of her private life.
Defense lawyer Desmond Brown had argued that Campbell’s drug treatment would not expose her to any stigma or damage her career.
Morland ruled Campbell had succeeded in establishing breach of confidentiality and breach of the Data Protection Act.
He said that because the model had publicly denied drug addiction, it would have been acceptable for The Mirror to report that she had been addicted and was undergoing therapy. But the details of her treatment, including its location, “bear the badge or mark of confidentiality,” the judge said.
“Although many aspects of the private lives of celebrities and public figures will inevitably enter the public domain, in my judgment it does not follow that even with self-publicists every aspect and detail of their private lives are legitimate quarry for the journalist,” he said. “They are entitled to some space of privacy.”
Morland denied The Mirror permission to appeal his ruling, although the newspaper can petition the Court of Appeal for permission.
Schilling said Campbell planned to donate the damages to charity.