Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Paul Weller takes privacy case against Daily Mail over photos of children

Singer Paul Weller has brought a privacy case on behalf of three of his children whose faces were “plastered” over a newspaper website.

The onetime frontman of The Jam and The Style Council was at London’s High Court with his wife Hannah for the misuse of private information action against Associated Newspapers.

His counsel, David Sherborne, told Mr Justice Dingemans that 55-year-old Weller was there as the father of daughter Dylan, who was 16 when the pictures appeared on MailOnline in October 2012 and twin boys, John-Paul and Bowie, who were 10 months old.

“It is not his privacy claim. The claim is brought by three children of this father who just happens to be well-known as a musician.”

Mr Sherborne said that the decision to publish the seven unpixelated pictures to illustrate a story about a “quality time” family shopping outing in Santa Monica, California, was an unjustified infringement of their right to privacy.

The pictures were taken by a professional paparazzo who followed Weller and the children through the streets to a cafe, sometimes using a long lens but sometimes not, without their consent and despite being asked to stop.

“It is not about damages, It is about preventing visual images of their faces being taken in such circumstances being plastered all over a newspaper website and about preventing a repetititon of such intrusion into their private and family life.”

Mr Sherborne said that Hannah Weller, the mother of the twins, had not been in the public eye before her marriage and had taken steps to prevent full-face images of her children appearing in the media, to the point of stopping her mother posting pictures of her first grandchildren.

He asked what well-known parents of children were meant to do – never take them out in a public street but keep them locked away?

Photos taken in the street, and not in circumstances such as premieres or for promotion, were a “blatant impediment to the natural social progress of children”, he said.

The contested hearing, during which Weller is expected to give evidence, is due to last four days.

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