Sienna Miller acts over paparazzi "harassment"

LONDON Thu Oct 30, 2008 10:14am EDT

Actress Sienna Miller poses at the premiere of ''Interview'' during the 51st BFI (British Film Institute) London film festival in this file photo from October 18, 2007. REUTERS/Anthony Harvey

Actress Sienna Miller poses at the premiere of ''Interview'' during the 51st BFI (British Film Institute) London film festival in this file photo from October 18, 2007.

Credit: Reuters/Anthony Harvey

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LONDON (Reuters) - British actress Sienna Miller's life has been made intolerable because of a "campaign of harassment" by photographers, her lawyer told London's High Court on Thursday.

Miller, 26, star of movies such as "Alfie" and "Layer Cake," is taking legal action against photographic agency Big Pictures (UK) Limited and its founder, Darryn Lyons, claiming they are guilty of harassment and invasion of privacy.

At a preliminary hearing, her lawyer David Sherborne said the actress had been caused "substantial alarm, fear and enormous distress" by their conduct, the Press Association reported. The agency and Lyons are contesting the claims.

Miller's private life and particularly her romantic liaisons have been a staple fodder for the tabloid press, with barely a day going by without her picture appearing in newspaper show business gossip columns.

Sherborne said the actress had endured "a campaign of harassment" since the end of June which had continued "despite requests to desist." He told the court the "relentless pursuit" had reached such a level that it violated her human rights.

The court heard Miller, who did not attend the hearing, was chased while driving and there were "other forms of physical and verbal intimidation or abuse in their attempts to obtain photographs of her for commercial exploitation."

Other incidents included being confronted outside her house in the Maida Vale area of London in June, being chased to Heathrow airport on a number of occasions and pursued as she attempted to walk her dogs in the park with her mother.

She also claims harassment continued when she was abroad.

Judge Justice Eady said a trial should be heard on the first available date after January 12.

It is not the first time that Miller has publicly voiced her anger at media intrusion.

In February, she told a court how paparazzi photographers had chased her car across London after a night out as she tried to stop them finding out her new address.

She said the photographers had driven like "lunatics" during the "frenzied" chase.

The actress was giving evidence in defense of her ex-boyfriend's brother Otis Ferry, who was cleared of criminal damage by forcibly removing the keys from two photographers' cars.

(Reporting by Michael Holden, Editing by Astrid Zweynert)

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