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Friday, 2 June, 2000, 11:11 GMT 12:11 UK
Mayoral action over nude photos

The case is being heard at the High Court
A legal action by Belfast's new lord mayor over publication of nude photographs is to go ahead later this year.

Sammy Wilson of the Democratic Unionist Party was elected to the top council post on Thursday night for a second term.

However, he is claiming compensation against two newspapers which published revealing photographs four years ago.

The photographs of Mr Wilson and a friend, Sharon Mary Rivers, were taken on holiday and appeared in the Sunday World and the Irish Star, both published in Dublin.

Mr Wilson's barrister, Jim Allister, told the High Court on Friday that it was intended to run both actions in tandem and it was expected the hearing would take a week.

Lord Justice Campbell said the trial would start on 9 October with a review on 6 September to ensure the hearing could go ahead.

Soon after the photographs were published, Mr Wilson, who was the DUP's press officer at the time, was granted an injunction.

It restrained Sunday World and its Northern editor, Jim McDowell, from republishing the photographs showing them in a nude or semi-nude state.

Sammy Wilson
Sammy Wilson: Legal action
Similar injunctions were granted to Ms Rivers, who is also claiming compensation against both papers.

The injunctions were later set aside after lawyers gave undertakings not to republish the photographs or pass them on to other papers, media outlets, journalists or any other person or organisation.

The compensation claims have been brought under two headings - breach of copyright and breach of confidence - on the grounds that the photographs were confidential to Mr Wilson and Ms Rivers.

An earlier hearing was told by Mr Allister that his two clients had suffered "considerable humiliation" by the publication of the photographs.

He said Sunday World had handed over 22 negatives but three were missing and he described them as being of a "sensitive nature".

The hand-over took place in the presence of two RUC officers investigating the theft of the negatives.

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