Hello! could face damages of 2.5m for illicit pictures

By Roger Pearson

The circulation boost that coverage of celebrity events can give the media was graphically highlighted at the High Court at the start of the hearing over the level of damages Catherine Zeta-Jones, Michael Douglas and OK! should receive as a result of Hello!’s publication of illicit photographs of the Douglases’ wedding.

Alistair Wilson QC for the Douglases and OK!, said sales of OK! rocketed by £1.5m after it paid £1m to David and Victoria Beckham for exclusive coverage of their wedding.

He said that for the 10 weeks preceding the Beckham wedding, edition sales averaged 383,633. But in the 10 weeks after the coverage, they were up to 424,104.

In a case in which he is expected to reserve judgment at the end and give a written decision later, the judge is being asked to set the level of damages for both the Douglases and for OK! over what happened.

A global figure of £2.5m has been given as the value of the combined claim.

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