News Column

French Court Mulls Injunction Against Topless Kate Pics

Sept. 17, 2012

A French court said it would rule Tuesday on whether Closer magazine must desist from any further publication of photographs showing Kate, the wife of Britain's Prince William, sunbathing topless.

The royal couple requested the injunction after the images of the duchess were published last week.

Lawyer Aurelien Hamelle told the court Monday that the photographs were of an "eminently intimate moment" in the life of a couple and demanded that Closer be banned from reprinting them, selling them or publishing them on the web.

William and Kate did not, however, request that unsold copies of the edition be pulled from newspaper kiosks. "The harm is done," Hamelle said.

The injunction request was the first step in the royals' offensive against the gossip magazine, whose decision to print the paparazzi pictures has been likened to the media hounding of William's late mother, Diana.

On Monday, the duke and duchess also launched criminal proceedings.

"We can confirm that a criminal complaint has been made to the French Prosecution Department today," a spokeswoman for the royal family said Monday.

Under France's strict privacy laws, taking someone's photographs in a private place without their consent is a crime punishable by up to a year in jail and/or a fine of 45,000 euros.

Legal experts say the magazine, its editor and the photographer, whom the magazine has refused to identify, could all face charges.

The criminal complaint comes as Italy's Chi magazine, a sister of Closer - both of which are owned by the family of former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi - became the third outlet to publish the photographs.

"Court scandal: the queen is nude," screamed the front cover of the magazine, which produced a special 28-page report on the British royals for the occasion.

Chi editor Alfonso Signorini defended the 18 pictures as showing the duchess acting as a "normal" young woman, "similar in all respects to millions of girls all over the world" and claimed scores more of the kind existed.

Meanwhile, the Irish Daily Star faced possible closure after co-owner Richard Desmond reacted angrily to the paper's decision to print the photographs.

Desmond, whose Northern & Shell group owns the Daily Express and Daily Star, said he would take "immediate steps" to close the paper after it printed 13 of the images.

If Kate and William were upset by the fuss, they did not show it as they continued their Asia tour in the Solomon Islands, where they spent a romantic evening in a remote resort.

The royals first made a visit to the prime minister's office before viewing a display of local culture from island provinces.

Television images showed Kate all smiles as she wore a yellow shirt-dress and signature nude pumps during the visit to the cultural village.

The Duchess of Cambridge also pulled in the crowds when she visited a women's centre in a nearby village.

Later Monday they were taken by war canoe to a exclusive resort on Tavanipupu island.

Source: Copyright 2012 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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