Lords hand supermodel privacy battle victory

Supermodel Naomi Campbell scored a legal victory today when the Law Lords upheld her right to "invasion of privacy" damages against the Daily Mirror over a story about her fight against drug addiction.

In a 3-2 majority ruling with serious implications for press freedom, the Lords allowed her appeal against a Court of Appeal judgment which cancelled the £3,500 award she won from the newspaper in the High Court two years ago for breach of confidentiality and breach of duty under the Data Protection Act.

Miss Campbell's lawyers had challenged the appeal judges' ruling that publication in February 2001 of a report about her drug addiction - including a photograph of her leaving a Narcotics Anonymous meeting in the King's Road, Chelsea - was justified in the public interest.

The Court of Appeal had said she had courted, rather than shunned, publicity and had gone out of her way to tell the media that, in contrast to some other models, she did not take drugs. That was not true.

Today, Lord Hope said: "Despite the weight that must be given to the right to freedom of expression that the press needs if it is to play its role effectively, I would hold that there was here an infringement of Miss Campbell's right to privacy that cannot be justified."

Commenting on the judgment, Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan said: "This is avery good day for lying drug-abusing prima donnas who want to have their cakewith the media, and the right to then shamelessly guzzle it with their Cristalchampagne.

"Five senior judges found for the Mirror throughout the various hearings in this case, four for Naomi Campbell. Yet she wins.

"If ever there was a less deserving case for creating what is effectively a back door privacy law it would be Ms Campbell, but that's showbiz."