David Walliams and Lara Stone fail in harassment claim against photographer
Monday 12 November 2012
Actor David Walliams and his model wife Lara Stone have failed to bring a harassment claim against a freelance photographer.
High Court judge Mr Justice Eady said that Jani Jance should not be used as a "scapegoat" for the alleged behaviour of paparazzi in the run-up to the couple's May 2010 wedding.
Mr Jance admitted taking two or three photos outside their London home on one occasion that month, but said they were not of sufficient quality or interest for him to make use of.
He did not accept he had either then or subsequently harassed the couple or done anything illegal.
Two days before their marriage, Mr Walliams and Ms Stone won a temporary injunction against persons unknown - paparazzi identified only as WXY - who had pursued them for photos.
They then applied for Mr Jance, who they could identify, to be joined to those proceedings, and bring them to a close by converting the existing order into a permanent injunction.
But today the judge said he should not allow any individual to be joined as a defendant, simply because he was the only person who could be identified, on the basis that he was a convenient "peg" by which the litigation could be disposed of.
Mr Walliams and Ms Stone did not accept this was a fair characterisation of what they hoped to achieve as they regarded Mr Jance as someone who might harass them in the future unless restrained by a court order, he added.
Mr Jance had been served with the injunction against WXY, which he was bound by, and did not accept he had breached it since.
Ms Stone appeared to accept he had stopped photographing her but said she sometimes found his presence intimidating.
The judge said: "It seems clear that Mr Jance should not be introduced into the dormant litigation in the capacity of a scapegoat on to whose shoulders can be loaded responsibility for all the wrongdoing said to have taken place in early 2010 - together with a bill for the costs of the action."
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