Wednesday 25 April 2018

Singer Paul Weller wins over €12,000 in privacy damages

Three of his children's faces were 'plastered' over newspaper website

Paul Weller
Paul Weller

Singer Paul Weller has won £10,000 privacy damages for three of his children whose faces were "plastered" over a newspaper website.

Weller, 55, sued Associated Newspapers for misuse of private information on behalf of daughter Dylan, who was 16 when the seven unpixellated pictures appeared on MailOnline in October 2012, and twin sons John-Paul and Bowie, who were 10 months old.

The one-time frontman of The Jam and the Style Council was not at London's High Court to hear the ruling by Mr Justice Dingemans.

The pictures were published after a paparazzo followed Weller and the children on a shopping trip through the streets of Santa Monica, California, taking photos without their consent despite being asked to stop.

Associated Newspapers argued that they were entirely innocuous and inoffensive images taken in public places and that the Wellers had previously chosen to open up their private family life to public gaze to a significant degree.

Weller gave evidence that he did not volunteer information about his family when he spoke to the press to promote his records but was a candid person who would answer a question if asked.

He said: "My preference would be just to talk about my music but I can also see that would be a very dull interview. It's just chit-chat. There's a big difference between that and someone following you around and taking photos of babies. That's a distinction that needs to be made."

The singer said he was never happy about his children being in the papers but he could not make a court case of it every time it happened.

"They overstepped the line with the photos in LA, where they are full frontal pictures of the babies... I don't think the children should be brought into it, not until they are old enough to make their own decisions."

He said it was incorrect that Dylan, who was in one shoot for Teen Vogue when she was 14, was a model and she had been "entirely intimidated" by the paparazzo who took the photos without consent.

"Even when I asked him to leave, and I thought he had left, I came out and he is still taking photos of a very frightened 16-year-old holding her baby brother. What kind of person is that anyway?"

He said he was relaxed about his 27-year-old wife Hannah putting pictures of the twins on her Twitter account, which had 3,570 followers, as long as their faces were not shown.

Mrs Weller told the court: "The image of their face should be controlled by their parents and not on a national website. It is part of my job as a mother to control who sees that information."

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