The paparazzo photographer Jamie Fawcett was yesterday accused of making up stories after he told the NSW Supreme Court he had touched but not planted a bug outside Nicole Kidman's house.
The photographer also agreed it was his view that celebrities such as Kidman only had a right to privacy if they were concealed behind the walls of a house, and said that the actress had sworn at him.
Fawcett said he was waiting outside Kidman's Darling Point home on January 23, 2005, when he saw her security guard, Malcolm Carter, behaving strangely. Mr Carter turned around 360 degrees before crouching near a small wall, Fawcett said. "I thought it was odd and I went up to the place where he had done this and had a look," he said.
Fawcett said he picked up what appeared to be a listening device before putting it back and walking to his car.
"I sat there and pondered about what had happened," he said, worrying later that his prints would be on the bug, which he said the guard returned to pick up.
In cross-examination, Tom Blackburn, SC, for Fairfax Media, the publisher of the Herald, said that Fawcett was inventing the story as he went along.
"This is something you have simply made up," Mr Blackburn said. "You are concerned that your DNA might be on the listening device and you had to account for it."
Maintaining the deadpan expression he had worn all day, Fawcett said: "That's not true."
In a separate incident last year, Kidman and her husband, Keith Urban, cut short a South Coast holiday because the actress said she felt trapped knowing Fawcett was there.
The photographer said he tried to snap the couple's picture from the side of the road as Urban drove the couple home. He said the couple slowed down as they passed him and Kidman swore.
Asked what the actress said, Fawcett replied matter-of-factly: "F--- off Jamie Fawcett."
Fawcett said it was inappropriate for photographers to pursue lay people for photographs "because they wouldn't know why you were pursuing them" but agreed when Mr Blackburn put it to him that it was his attitude that a celebrity such as Kidman has a right to privacy only when they are concealed behind the walls of a house.
Fawcett has taken defamation action against The Sun-Herald newspaper over a January 2005 article that a jury has found defamed him.
The jury decided one of the meanings conveyed in the article was that Fawcett had placed a listening device "intending to intercept" Kidman's private conversations.
Justice Carolyn Simpson is conducting the hearing in which Fairfax Media, the paper's publisher, is seeking to establish that some of the meanings are true.
The hearing continues.