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Harry Styles’ Injunction Against Harassment

Friday, 4 April 2014

Harry Styles is the latest celebrity to score a personal victory against paparazzi who have been hounding him around London.

The inherent interest of the press in the privacy versus freedom of expression debate means it is never far from the current news agenda. And media outlets are usually the first to publicly defend themselves against attempted restrictions on their rights to investigate and report freely.

However, media excesses in exploiting the principle of freedom of expression are well documented and continue to be highly publicised as the trials of ex-News of the World employees and associates rumble on.

With that backdrop it is unsurprising that a court has granted Harry Styles an injunction against a group of particularly intrusive photographers.

Harry Styles’ Paparazzi Injunction

Harry Styles, star of pop band One Direction, resorted to court proceedings at the end of 2013 in an attempt to prevent a number of UK-based photographers from harassing him. According to Styles, the photographers in question had had been following him around in the streets and camping outside his house in order to capture exclusive pictures of him.

After personal pleas from the star for the photographers to change their behaviour failed, he sought an injunction against them in the High Court. In December his claim against firm “Paparazzi AAA” and other photographers succeeded.

Mrs Justice Nicola Davies granted an injunction preventing the defendants from pursuing the singer by car or motorcycle, placing him under surveillance, loitering or waiting within 50 metres of his home to monitor his movements, or taking photos of him these circumstances.

The injunction was originally granted until January 2014 but was recently extended by the court. Four of the offending photographers were identified between the proceedings; further information is awaited in relation to a fifth photographer.

Was the Injunction a form of Privacy Protection?

It would be a stretch to suggest that Harry Styles has bought himself a degree of privacy through seeking this injunction.

The injunction is limited to a particular group of photographers who, by all accounts, appeared to be abusing their freedoms to the extent of harassing the pop star. In the course of the court proceedings the photographers agreed to a permanent order under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 to stop pursuing the singer through streets in the UK, placing him under surveillance at home and harassment of the singer in general.

In addition, Styles’ lawyer, David Sherborne, insisted that by seeking an injunction Styles, "is not attempting to stop fans approaching him in the street," but at the same time Mr Sherbourne expressed his hope that, "we have seen an end to the crazy pursuit of the claimant when he's not on official duties."

For specialist advice contact Peter Gourri today by email or telephone 0207 611 4848.

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