Pop star granted photo injunction

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THE POP STAR Michael Jackson was granted a High Court injunction yesterday banning the Daily Mirror from republishing or circulating a close-up photograph of him taken at the opening concert of his European tour last month.

Mr Justice Millett granted the 33-year-old singer a 15-day ban preventing the Mirror breaching the terms of a photograph release agreement limiting the paper to only one use of the picture.

Robin Jacob QC, for Jackson's tour company TTC Touring Corporation, alleged the Mirror was conducting 'a vicious smear campaign' against the singer, whose UK concerts begin later this week.

Jackson has already launched a libel action against the newspaper in respect of the photograph and articles suggesting that his face has been 'hideously disfigured' by plastic surgery. Mr Jacob said that the photograph, which had appeared in papers in Germany and the United States, was 'unreal and unrepresentative'.

Charles Purle QC, for the Daily Mirror, said the photograph had already been seen by millions and the court should not grant an injunction to stifle comment on a matter of public interest. The Mirror intended to plead justification as its defence to the libel action.

The judge said the picture showed an image of Michael Jackson which was described as 'hideously distorted and disfigured', accompanied by a 'vitriolic attack' suggesting he had indulged in plastic surgery resulting from a tragic quest for perfect looks.

The judge said that on the evidence presented so far, the Mirror had shown no defence to Mr Jackson's claim and it should be prevented from re-using the photograph pending a further court hearing in 15 days time.