People wins £15,000 in legal fight with freelance over fooballer pics

The Sunday People has won £15,000 in costs from a freelance photographer who sold pictures commissioned by the paper of the two mistresses of footballer Gary Flitcroft to the News of the World.

Harold Holborn, who has an agency called Contact Pictures in Oldham, had argued that he owned the copyright of the pictures and he had sold only first rights to the People.

The People has not published the pictures, which appeared in the NoW on 24 March with a story headlined "Soccer Cheat in court gag tells wife of romps".

Holborn had been injuncted by the People to stop him selling on the pictures in March but had challenged the newspaper’s application for costs.

But finding in favour of the People, Judge Jacob said: "I would have thought that any freelance photo-

grapher who is given a specific job would not, in conscience, feel able to take the job to some other party."

At the time Holborn gave the NoW the pictures, there was a court order in force preventing anyone from identifying Flitcroft and the two women. The People claimed that, even without such an order, the information it had given Holborn in order for him to take the photographs was confidential and he was not at liberty to disclose it. He was paid £180.

Judge Jacob said a letter Holborn had sent to Marcus Partington, head of MGN’s editorial legal department, in which he said he had not disclosed the identity of the parties involved to the NoW or anyone else and had taken legal advice, was not "full and frank".

The judge said anyone reading Holborn’s letter "would assume that the author intended that he was entitled to sell the pictures and, given their immense topicality, one could only expect they would be sold soon, if they had not been sold already".

The only legal advice Holborn had received, said the judge, was from an NoW lawyer.

"What the defendant conspicuously failed to say was that he had already put the pictures in the hands of the News of the World," he said.

The People had earlier obtained an injunction preventing Holborn selling on the pictures and obliging him to return all the images to the paper.

By Jean Morgan

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