Criminal probe 'launched' in France over topless Kate Middleton photos
Tuesday, 18 September 2012
*Prosecutors in France have reportedly launched a preliminary criminal inquiry into the publication of topless photos of the Duchess of Cambridge following a complaint from the royal family's lawyers they represented a breach of privacy.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have been touring south-east Asia and the south Pacific (Picture: Getty)
The AFP news agency said the country's prosecutor's office was now deciding whether to launch a full investigation against the photographer involved and French Closer magazine which first published the photos last week.
In a separate civil action, a court in Nanterre, outside Paris, is due to announce whether St James's Palace will be granted an injunction preventing further publication of the photos.
Aurelien Hamelle, a lawyer for Prince William and Kate, yesterday called on an injunction banning further publication of the photos, taken while the couple sunbathed at the chateau of the Queen's nephew Lord Linley in Provence, and a daily fine of 10,000 euros (£8,000) until the magazine hands over the images.
Prince William and Kate have been seeking damages and an injunction (Picture: AFP/Getty)
Damages of 5,000 euros (£4,000) and a fine of 100,000 (£80,000) euros if the photos are resold in France and abroad are also being sought.
Delphine Pando, representing Closer, said topless photos such as those featuring the duchess were no longer considered shocking and that the Chateau d'Autet was in view of a public road, adding the magazine did not hold the rights to the pictures.
French Closer, which is separate from its UK namesake, sparked a major outcry when it published the photos last week while the duke and duchess toured Asia Pacific as part of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.
UK media have snubbed the pictures, which have been republished in the Irish Daily Star and Italian gossip magazine Chi, which like Closer is published by the Mondadori media group owned by former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.
Defending his decision to publish the pictures, Chi editor Alfonso Signorini told Sky News: 'I am a director of a newspaper not a supermarket, I don't sell artichokes and carrots, I sell photographic scoops.
'If I had not published them I would not be paid for the job I do. Above all, I published them for various reasons, as a journalistic scoop, it satisfies the curiosity of the readers, it is first time that the future Queen of England has been pictured in such a way.
Meanwhile the editor of the Irish Daily Star, Michael O'Kane, has been suspended by the publishers of the tabloid, pending the results of an internal investigation.
VIDEO: Chi editor defends publication of topless Kate photos
PICTURES: Duke and Duchess of Cambridge continue Diamond Jubilee tour