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March 9, 2005

Privacy injunction for Elizabeth Jagger

Category: News

Judge restrains further publication of nightclub CCTV footage


The elder daughter of Mick Jagger successfully applied to the High Court this week for a temporary injunction to restrain further publication of a CCTV recording captured in a Soho nightclub.

 

The recording included pictures of her engaging in sexual activity with Calum Best in an area behind the front door of the club, ‘Kabaret’s Prophecy’, where they could be seen or surprised by security staff or passers by.

 

Ms Jagger brought her claim in copyright (having taken an assignment from the Club), misuse of private information, and breach of her data protection rights. Some blurred stills from the recording, with “censored” stars covering the parts for which modesty had special claims, had been published by the News of the World. She did not seek to prevent publication of any information in verbal form, merely the recording itself or stills from it.

 

The Defendants are John Darling, the suspended General Manager of the night club (who denies being the guilty party), and “The person or persons who acquired or made a copy of a CCTV recording … and supplied it or images taken from it to the News of the World newspaper”.  The addition of a “persons unknown” Defendant is now an established procedure, see e.g. the Harry Potter case, Bloomsbury Publishing & J.K.Rowling v News Group Newspapers & others [2003] EWHC 1205 (Ch).

 

Bell J accepted that the somewhat public, or unusually non-private, place where the incident took place did not deny the Claimant the likelihood of success in a privacy claim, following the ECHR cases of Peck v UK and Von Hannover v Germany, and the English case of Campbell v MGN.  The Judge considered that moral turpitude was not a factor which should prevent further dissemination of embarrassing or humiliating images, given the special protection for information in photographic form referred to in Theakston v MGN Ltd.

 

The Claimant’s case was materially strengthened by the apparently blatant nature of the breach of the Data Protection Act which was involved in the supply to the News of the World. CCTV images are covered by a Code of Practice issued by the Information Commissioner, and are clearly a prime subject for data protection, given the potential for intrusion (and misuse) which is presented by the increasing presence of CCTV cameras in public places, and places to which the public has access.

 

5RB‘s James Price QC represented Elizabeth Jagger.

 

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