Pubdate: Fri, 15 Feb 2002
Source: Independent  (UK)
Copyright: 2002 Independent Newspapers (UK) Ltd
Author: Cahal Milmo


The supermodel Naomi Campbell had been an "unreliable witness" during her 
two days of testimony in a groundbreaking privacy action against a national 
newspaper, the High Court was told yesterday.

Mr Justice Morland made the remark to lawyers representing the catwalk star 
during closing arguments in her claim that The Mirror unfairly revealed she 
was attending drug counselling sessions. The London-born model spent seven 
hours in the witness box this week being cross-examined on claims that she 
had lied about her addiction and exaggerated the effects of The Mirror's 

She is claiming aggravated damages against the newspaper for breach of 
confidence and privacy after she was photographed leaving a Narcotics 
Anonymous meeting in central London 12 months ago.

Desmond Browne QC, for Mirror Group Newspapers, accused Ms Campbell on 
Tuesday of "telling whoppers" by denying that she had admitted to a 
journalist that the Mirror article only briefly upset her.

The newspaper, which denies Ms Campbell's claim, has accused the model of 
lying over eight aspects of her evidence, ranging from an alleged drugs 
overdose to employing PR guru Matthew Freud.

Yesterday afternoon, Mr Justice Morland told Andrew Caldecott QC, 
representing Ms Campbell, 31, that he "did find her in many respects an 
unreliable witness".

The lawyer replied that he would be making submissions about the "very 
significant difference" between unreliability and dishonesty in the model's 

The Mirror is claiming that Ms Campbell's repeated willingness to use the 
media to further her commercial ventures by talking about her private life 
meant she was not entitled to the same privacy as a "man or woman in the 

Earlier, Mr Browne used his closing argument to allege that Ms Campbell had 
"schemed and manipulated her public reputation a " and now she must face 
the consequences".

The court heard that photographing the model at a Narcotics Anonymous 
meeting could not stigmatise her, as she had complained, because it showed 
she was seeking treatment for a problem. Accusing Ms Campbell of 
exaggerating the effects of the Mirror article, headlined "Naomi: I am a 
drug addict", Mr Browne denied that it had either caused her long-term 
upset or caused her to flee Britain. He said: "We say there is no question 
of substantial distress. Even if she was caused distress, it didn't last 
for more than five seconds and she was not driven from the country."

Legal submissions in the case are expected to end today.
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MAP posted-by: Beth