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2.15pm update


Hello! to pay Hollywood couple 14,600 in damages

Ciar Byrne
Friday November 7, 2003


Catherine Zeta Jones
Zeta Jones: hoping for up to 550,000 in damages
 
Catherine Zeta Jones and Michael Douglas have won 14,600 in damages from Hello! magazine, which published unauthorised pictures of their wedding.

Its rival OK! magazine, which had an exclusive deal to cover the Hollywood couple's marriage in November 2000 in New York,was awarded 1,033,156 in damages by the judge, Mr Justice Lindsay.

Northern & Shell, the owner of OK!, was seeking 1.75m damages, while Douglas and Zeta Jones asked for 500,000 in commercial damages plus 50,000 each for personal distress.

At a hearing in July Alastair Wilson QC, representing the Douglases and OK!, argued his clients should be awarded a "very substantial figure" to demonstrate that Hello! was in the wrong when it published sneaked paparazzi shots of the wedding ceremony at the New York Plaza hotel.

During a six-week hearing at the high court earlier this year, which cost more than 3m in legal fees, Zeta Jones said she felt "devastated, shocked and appalled" when she learned that, despite careful security precautions, a paparazzi photographer had infiltrated her wedding.

Zeta Jones and Douglas claimed victory when Mr Justice Lindsay ruled in April that Hello! had breached their right of confidence.

The Douglases had sold the rights to their wedding pictures to OK! for 1m but before the celebrity magazine came out blurred, snatched pictures from inside the Plaza hotel emerged in the rival title.

British photographer Rupert Thorpe gained access to the event and took photographs he later sold via an intermediary to Hello! for 125,000.

In his judgment in April, Mr Justice Lindsay said he had no doubt the couple suffered "real personal distress" and said the Hello! snaps constituted an unjustified intrusion into the private lives of individuals.

The fact the couple were famous had no bearing on the case, the judge said.

He made it clear, however, his decision was not made on the grounds of privacy, but was based on commercial confidentiality.

Mr Justice Lindsay dismissed nine other claims against Hello!, including the charge the magazine had conspired or commissioned the snatched photos, or had intended to damage the Douglases.

· To contact the MediaGuardian newsdesk email editor@mediaguardian.co.uk or phone 020 7239 9857

 Damages claim
22.07.2003: Hello! Zeta Jones pictures 'blew away' OK!
16.07.2003: Douglases and OK! seek up to 2m
16.07.2003: 100,000 claim over Zeta Jones pictures
16.05.2003: July date set for Zeta Jones damages hearing

 The verdict
11.04.2003: Zeta Jones wins high court battle
11.04.2003: Full summary of judgment

 The case explained
11.04.2003: How the Hello! spoiler went wrong

 Reaction
12.04.2003: Zeta Jones victory raises threat of privacy law
11.04.2003: Zeta Jones judge warns over privacy law
11.04.2003: Madonna's PR and Max Clifford on the ruling
11.04.2003: OK! hails 'historic' victory
11.04.2003: Case means end of road for spoilers

 The QCs
11.04.2003: Legal eagles: Tugendhat and Price

 Comment
14.04.2003: Keith Schilling: Private lessons
11.04.2003: Crisis of confidence: a lawyer writes
11.04.2003: The media must heed this warning shot: a lawyer writes

 Reporting of the case
16.04.2003: Desmond complains at Standard coverage

 How the high court action unfolded
09.04.2003: Zeta Jones verdict due on Friday
10.03.2003: Hello! accused of 'unpleasant' wedding coverage
07.03.2003: Zeta Jones offered wedding 'slice'
07.03.2003: Hello! treated marquesa like a 'doormat'
04.03.2003: Zeta Jones wedding photos 'sold to porn magazine'
04.03.2003: Stars sought to 'control publicity'
18.02.2003: Hello! boss admits to 'misunderstanding'
17.02.2003: Stars 'exaggerated distress', says Hello!
14.02.2003: Hello! attacks 'obsessive' rival
14.02.2003: Zeta Jones wanted money not privacy, says Hello! boss
13.02.2003: Marquesa: 'Hello! boss asked me to lie'
13.02.2003: Stars 'childish' over wedding
12.02.2003: A New York hotel 'could never be private'
12.02.2003: Hello!'s fixer is 'impetuous'
12.02.2003: Hello! 'did not conspire with paparazzi'
12.02.2003: Rod Liddle: Don't let them eat cake
11.02.2003: Zeta Jones hired three security firms for wedding
11.02.2003: Hello! defends use of wedding pictures
11.02.2003: Hello! spoiler cost OK! dear
11.02.2003: Press turns on Zeta Jones
10.02.2003: Douglas: we don't have to 'play ball' with media
11.02.2003: Catherine Zeta Jones' statement
10.02.2003: Zeta Jones accused of over-reacting
10.02.2003: Douglas: we guard our privacy closely
10.02.2003: Zeta Jones: 1m is 'not that much'
10.02.2003: Zeta Jones: I didn't sell my privacy
10.02.2003: Zeta Jones: paparazzi are 'game-hunters'
10.02.2003: Douglas hits out at 'peeping toms'
10.02.2003: Zeta Jones: 'devastated' by paparazzi
10.02.2003: Hollywood comes to town
10.02.2003: Matt Wells: Privacy goes to Hollywood
05.02.2003: Press spoilers 'are commonplace', court told
05.02.2003: Weddings are 'public occasions' says Zeta Jones judge
04.02.2003: Douglases 'forfeited right to privacy'
04.02.2003: Stars and celebrity mags act out their own court drama
04.02.2003: Zeta Jones hires ex-Sunday Times journalist for PR brief
03.02.2003: Douglases gave 'qualified consent' to photos
03.02.2003: Thorpe's son named in Zeta Jones case
03.02.2003: Hello! in 'covert' operation to get wedding pics
03.02.2003: Hollywood stars prepare for battle

 Preliminary hearings
28.01.2003: Zeta Jones worried about 'unflattering' photos
27.01.2003: Bid to delay Hollywood stars' court case
16.01.2003: Hello! case will be media circus
21.12.2000: Zeta Jones to sue Hello!
21.12.2000: Zeta Jones free to sue Hello!

 MediaGuardian.co.uk special report
Press and privacy




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