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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 December 2006, 14:12 GMT
Singer wins book privacy case
Court of Appeal
The judges said passages in the book were intrusive and insensitive
A Canadian singer has won a privacy case in a judgement seen as significant for celebrities facing media exposure.

Singer/songwriter Loreena McKennitt last year won £5,000 in damages and an injunction following revelations in a book by former employee Niema Ash.

Ms Ash went to the Court of Appeal in London, arguing the information was "banal and anodyne".

Dismissing Ms Ash's appeal, Lord Justice Buxton said Ms McKennitt was a star who guarded her personal privacy.

McKennitt, whose Celtic music has sold 13 million albums worldwide, said Ash's book Travels with Loreena McKennitt: My Life as a Friend breached a duty of confidence.

We still should have the basic human dignity of privacy
Loreena McKennitt
Certain passages covered personal and sexual relationships, her personal feelings about her fiancé who drowned in 1998, health and diet, her emotional vulnerability and detail of a property dispute.

Ms Ash's advocate, David Price, told Lord Justice Buxton, Lord Justice Latham and Lord Justice Longmore at the Court of Appeal in London that the importance of the case went beyond its protagonists.

"The judgment below is a triple whammy against freedom of expression - that freedom being not merely the right of an author to impart information but also to the public's right to receive it if they so choose," he said.

Lord Justice Buxton upheld all of the High Court judge's conclusions that various passages in the book were intrusive, insensitive and distressing and came under Article 8 of the Human Rights Act which governs the right to respect for private and family life.

Afterwards, Ms McKennitt said: "If an aspect of career places one directly in the public eye or if extraordinary events make an ordinary person newsworthy for a time, we still should have the basic human dignity of privacy for our home and family life."


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