Published November 12, 2007
| Newscorp Australian Papers
Nicole Kidman will be forced to give evidence in a Sydney court against a local paparazzo Jamie Fawcett despite claiming her busy filming schedule left it almost impossible for her to attend.
The Hollywood A-lister was subpoenaed to testify in a defamation case mounted by Fawcett against John Fairfax Publications, publishers of the Sun-Herald.
The article in January 2005 by Annette Sharp came after it was revealed by The Daily Telegraph that Fawcett had allegedly planted a listening device outside Kidman's Darling Point home.
Subsequently, Fairfax wants Kidman to give evidence about her at-times controversial dealings with the celebrity snapper in a bid to fend off a damages payout.
All criminal charges against Fawcett relating to the listening device have been dropped.
Kidman's lawyers yesterday fronted Sydney's Supreme Court telling Justice Carolyn Simpson the actor was extremely busy filming the Baz Lurhman epic Australia at Fox Studios.
They submitted a variety of alternatives to accommodate their superstar client, including that she give evidence over the weekend, or by a video-link or have the matter adjourned until her schedule was less busy.
"The unavailability of Ms Kidman for part of a day or for all of the court's hours of a day would require the cancellation of all filming on that day,'' an affidavit from Kidman solicitor Stuart Gibson reads.
"It would not be possible or practical to suspend filming for a couple of hours in those time periods because Ms Kidman is in virtually every scene being shot during this time frame and is required to deliver her lines even when she is off camera.''
They said up to 335 people - including big-name actors Hugh Jackman and Bryan Brown, as well as production crew - would be inconvenienced.
However Justice Simpson said she was not in favour of a weekend court sitting and urged the parties to find a solution so Kidman could give evidence as soon as possible.
"I think we should make enquiries about a time that will occasion the least disruption and it seems there is going to be co-operation on the part of all the parties involved to accommodate Ms Kidman,'' she said.
In launching the case yesterday, Fawcett's barrister Bruce McClintock SC said his client had been defamed through no fault of his own.
"He is a photojournalist, he is not ashamed of that fact,'' Mr McClintock said.
"He takes photos among others of celebrities, there is a market for theses because, for example, the Sun Herald publishes them.
"The article itself was seriously defamatory; the bile and venom with which Ms Sharpe wrote the claims are such as, we will suggest, result in quite substantial damages.''
A jury found last year that Fawcett had been defamed by the article and the current hearing is to determine what damages, if any, should be paid.
The hearing continues.