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Wednesday, 27 March, 2002, 18:37 GMT
Key excerpts from Naomi High Court judgement
BBC News Online documents key excerpts from the lengthy judgement handed down by Mr Justice Morland at the High Court on Wednesday in the Naomi Campbell v Mirror newspaper confidentiality case.
In my judgement to succeed in her claim for breach of confidentiality Miss Naomi Campbell must establish three things.
First that the details given by the publications complained of about her attendance at Narcotics Anonymous meetings have the necessary quality of confidence about them.
Secondly that those details must have been imparted in circumstances importing an obligation of confidence.
Thirdly that the publication of the details must be to her detriment.
In my judgement the details of Miss Naomi Campbell's attendance at Narcotics Anonymous do have the necessary quality of confidence about them.
They bear the badge or mark of confidentiality.
In my judgement it matters not whether therapy is obtained by means of professional medical input or by alternative means such as group counselling or as here organised meetings for discussion between sufferers.
They were obtained surreptitiously assisted by covert photography when Miss Campbell was engaged deliberately 'low key' and drably dressed in the private activity of therapy to advance her recovery from drug addiction.
In my judgement the information giving details of her regular attendance at Narcotics Anonymous meetings for therapy must have been imparted in circumstances importing an obligation of confidence.
The undisclosed source whether a fellow sufferer of drug addiction attending Narcotics Anonymous meetings or a member of Miss Naomi Campbell's staff or entourage owed her an obligation of confidence in relation to the information; whether or not that information was supplemented by a Mirror reporter attending a Narcotics Anonymous meeting or by covert photography.
The information clearly bore the badge of confidentiality and when received by the defendants they, Mr Morgan and the Mirror journalists were clothed in conscience with the duty of confidentiality.
Inevitably a top fashion model of international renown will be the subject of media interest and publication.
That interest and publication will be greatly increased if she has a colourful temperament and private life.
Nor has she spoken disparagingly or critically of her former men friends.
This will be especially so if as in the case of Miss Naomi Campbell she exploits commercially her celebrity status by ancillary activities in connection with her enterprises in restaurants, jeans and fragrances.
In such circumstances she can expect and to a degree, I would assume, welcome some media attention and intrusion when she is engaged in public promotions and appearances.
Miss Naomi Campbell has frequently discussed with journalists and given interviews to the press or on television about aspects of her private life and behaviour when she should have known that her revelations would be published worldwide.
She has discussed her men friends and her relationships with them. However, it is greatly to her credit that they have not been kiss and tell revelations giving details of sexual activity.
She has publicly acknowledged that she has had problems of behavioural unpredictability and anger control which has required therapy. She admitted in evidence that she was notorious for tantrums.
However, she did not reveal that she was a drug addict and had been for some years a drug addict requiring and receiving therapy.
Indeed she lied about her drug addiction putting forward in interviews with the media a positively false case that unlike many models she had managed to avoid drugs.
For example in June 1997 when she was rushed to hospital in Gran Canaria following an alleged drug overdose she said in an exclusive interview with the Daily Telegraph at a Paris studio where she was working on a campaign to launch her own range of jeans, 'I didn't take drugs'.
In relation to the same incident she said when interviewed by Paris Match, 'I never take stimulants or tranquillisers'.
I am satisfied that she lied to the interviewers when making these denials and that her assertions, persisted in by her when giving evidence before me, that her rush to hospital was caused by an allergic reaction to an antibiotic, were deliberate lies.
Although many aspects of the private lives of celebrities and public figures will inevitably enter the public domain, in my judgement it does not follow that even with self-publicists every aspect and detail of their private lives are legitimate quarry for the journalist. They are entitled to some space of privacy.
Clearly in my judgement the public had a need to know that Miss Naomi Campbell had been misleading the public by her denials of drug addiction and balanced and positive journalism demanded that the public be told that Miss Naomi Campbell was receiving therapy for her drug addiction
Clearly the Mirror was fully entitled to put the record straight and publish that her denials of drug addiction were deliberately misleading.
She might have been thought of and indeed she herself seems to be a self-appointed role model to young black women.
However consistent with article 8 in my judgement the court should protect from publication and give remedies for the wrongful publication in breach of confidence of details, which have the mark and badge of confidentiality, of the private life which a celebrity or public figure has chosen not to put in the public domain unless despite the breach of confidentiality and the private nature of the information publication is justifiable.
Article 10 is not an unqualified right as article 10(2) requires respect for the right of privacy has to be shown including by the media. Striking the balance between articles 8 and 10 and having full regard to section 12(4) of the 1998 Act, clearly in my judgement Miss Naomi Campbell is entitled to the remedy of damages and/or for compensation.
In my judgement the information as to the nature of and details of the therapy that the claimant was receiving at Narcotics Anonymous including the photographs with captions was clearly information as to her physical or mental health or condition, that is her drug addiction and therefore 'sensitive personal data'.
In my judgement disclosure of details of the claimant's therapy was not in the substantial public interest.
Moreover the disclosure of that personal data was not in connection with the commission of drug offences but the claimant's efforts to avoid committing drug offences.
Although I am satisfied that Miss Naomi Campbell has established that she has suffered a significant amount of distress and injury to feelings caused specifically by the unjustified revelation of the details of her therapy with Narcotics Anonymous, apart from that distress and injury to feelings she also suffered a significant degree of distress and injury to feelings caused by the entirely legitimate publication by the defendants of her drug addiction and the fact of therapy about which she cannot complain.
In determining the extent of distress and injury to feelings for which she is entitled to compensation, I must consider her evidence with caution.
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.
A considerable amount of time was spent during oral evidence and argument on the statement that Miss Naomi Campbell could be compared to a 'chocolate soldier'.
Miss (Sue) Carroll's article (in the Mirror), was offensive. I can well understand that Miss Campbell found the phrase hurtful and considered it racist.
Yet I am not satisfied that Miss Campbell suffered any significantly increased distress or injury to feelings from the manner in which the defendants conducted the trial. However, I am satisfied that Miss Carroll's article sounds in aggravated damages.
That article did not only criticise the merits of her claim in strong and colourful language but also to use Mr Caldecott's phrase 'Trashed her as a person' in a highly offensive and hurtful manner.
That trashing entitles her to aggravated damages. I assess aggravated damages in the sum of £1000.
The full judgement will soon be available on the Court Service website.
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