Actress Sienna Miller has won £15,000 in privacy damages, plus costs, from the Daily Star after it defied a Press Complaints Commission ban on UK newspapers publishing photos of her which had come about as a result of harassment.
The photo was published on 11 September and showed a distressed Miller standing in the foyer of a private building in Los Angeles being photographed and videoed by around a dozen paparazzi.
After being contacted by Miller’s lawyers Carter-Ruck, the Press Complaints Commission urged British news organisations not to publish photographs of Miller which had resulted from harassment. All complied apart from the Daily Star.
Video footage of the incident in question shows a distressed Miller close to tears.
Press Gazette understands that the Los Angeles incident followed a week in the UK in which Miller had been followed 24 hours a day by photographers.
According to one well placed source, 15 photographers followed Miller when she left her house to go to the hairdressers and one photographer rejected her pleas to leave her alone when she left London to visit her family in the country. According the source her car was pursued at speed on the motorway and the photographs continued throughout her stay in the country and when she went to the airport to fly out to LA.
The Daily Star article which was the subject of today’s payout reported the fact that Miller was being harassed.
In its apology today the paper said: ‘We accept, as we said in the article, that Ms Miller was extremely harassed and distressed by persistent pursuit and intimidating tactics adopted by numerous paparazzi in seeking to obtain photographs of her, including the very photograph that we published. We apologise to Sienna for publishing this photograph.”
Miller’s Lawyer, Mark Thomson, said that size of the payout shows that news organisations accept the cost of infringing privacy has now gone up since July when Formula One boss Max Mosley won £60,000 from the News of the World over its sado-masochistic sex orgy revelations.
Thomson said: ‘Mosley has made it clear that substantial damages can be awarded in privacy complaints. I think the upper limit for privacy damages would be £75,000 to £100,000 for the most extreme and serious invasion of privacy.”
‘The hurdle has been raised substantially by the Mosley decision and all the newspapers recognise this.”
Miller has lodged a separate privacy action against the News of the World demanding damages of £100,000 after it published pictures of her frolicking topless in the sea with Balthazar Getty. Those pictures were taken by Paparazzi agency Big Pictures.