Kate Middleton 'Topless' Photos: French Court Bans Further Publication Of Images

French Court Bans Further Publication Of Kate Topless Photos

A French court has granted an injunction banning media from re-publishing topless photos of the Duchess of Cambridge.

Closer magazine in France, which first published the pictures, was also ordered to hand over all the images in 24 hours, and fined 10,000 euros (£8,000) for every extra day it takes to comply, according to the ruling from the Tribunal de Grande Instance in Nanterre, Paris.

The action will not, in practical terms, stop anyone from seeing the photographs already published by French Closer magazine.

Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, still on the royal couple's tour of the Far East, while the case continues in France

But the Royals hope to send out a clear signal that such invasions of privacy will not be ignored, and to draw a line under the matter.

Closer's parent company, Mondadori, owned by former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, will also have to pay €2,000 towards legal fees.

A court in Nanterre, near Paris, has now opened a separate criminal investigation into charges that Closer and a photographer breached the privacy of the duke and duchess by publishing the topless photos.

In the criminal suit, the magazine could be fined up to €45,000 (£36,000) and the editor, Laurence Pieau, could be jailed for up to a year.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are carried from a boat to the plane in Marau in Guadacanal Province, Solomon Islands

On Monday, lawyers representing Mondadori told the court that the photos are not theirs to sell.

Mondadori-owned Italian gossip magazine Chi has also published a 26-page spread with the topless pictures.

Media law expert David Banks, a former co-author of editions of McNae's Essential Law for Journalists, told The Huffington Post UK: "The only place where this injunction will make a difference is for magazines in France, and if the couple pursue further legal action in further jurisdictions.

"They could end up chasing them round Europe, fire-fighting.

"Many editors will decide it is not worth the legal hassle. But it makes absolutely no difference, in practical terms, to people seeing the photos which are freely available on the internet, unless there are more pictures we don't know about, which now cannot be published.

"A national injunction is otherwise pretty much meaningless. Had there been a legal challenge to a British paper publishing the naked Harry pictures, it would have been unlikely that a court in the UK would have granted the injunction.

"There were 211 million results for the pictures on Google. The pictures are in the public domain."

He said that if the Royal couple decided to pursue magazines across the world to stop publication in different countries, legal costs could spiral into hundreds of thousands of pounds, though they may be awarded costs back if the court rules in favour of the Duke and Duchess.

The main thing that will dissuade editors will be "very high legal fees, not the fines from the court," Banks said.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrive in Marau, Guadacanal Province on their way to Tivanipupu

He warned against the pursuit of criminal charges against the photographers by Kate and William.

"I think it's a very dangerous path indeed if it comes out that a member of a European Royal Family is pursuing a reporter or journalist in order to imprison them. It will not play well with public opinion outside the UK."

The scandal first erupted last week when Closer ran the images of the royal couple enjoying private holiday moments at Chateau d'Autet, near Aix-en-Provence.

St James's Palace's robust response to their publication came after it said in a statement that a red line had been crossed.

Currently on a Diamond Jubilee tour of the Far East and South Pacific, the royal couple travelled today to one of the smallest countries in the world, the island nation of Tuvalu.


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