Sydney paparazzo loses Nicole Kidman court case

Wed Feb 27, 2008 1:20am EST
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By Michael Perry

SYDNEY (Reuters) - A Sydney paparazzo lost a defamation case on Wednesday against an Australian newspaper that said he wanted to "wreak havoc" on actress Nicole Kidman's private life with the court agreeing he was a "cowboy."

The New South Wales state Supreme Court ruled the article saying photographer Jamie Fawcett was a "cowboy" who once dubbed himself the "Prince of Paparazzi" and who was determined "to wreak havoc on Kidman's private life," was not defamatory.

During the hearing, Kidman told the court that Fawcett chased her car across Sydney in 2005 at speeds which made her crouch on the back seat, tearful and frightened of crashing.

The Hollywood star said Fawcett's car and another vehicle drove "dangerously, mounting concrete traffic barriers and driving through red traffic lights in the pursuit."

"I was absolutely terrified and was thinking, "I hope I don't die like this'," Kidman told the court. "When I got out of the car, I was shaking, my heart was pounding."

Fawcett denied the car chase claims, but Supreme Court Judge Carolyn Simpson said Kidman's description was accurate.

"He is a man who makes his living from taking and selling candid photographs ... of famous people; he had made a goal of obtaining photographs of Ms Kidman; he had waited all day, unrewarded, for a photograph of her," said Simpson.

"He was clearly motivated to obtain such a photograph, and he recognized that his remaining opportunities on that evening were very limited indeed," she said.   Continued...

<p>Photographer Jamie Fawcett leaves the Supreme Court in Sydney after Australian actress Nicole Kidman appeared to give evidence November 19, 2007. REUTERS/Will Burgess</p>