Decision day in royals’ court action over topless pictures of Duchess of Cambridge
A FRENCH court will decide today whether to halt publication of photos showing the Duchess of Cambridge topless.
The civil case, which was brought to seek damages and an injunction preventing further publication of the images that featured in France’s Closer magazine, was launched yesterday in Paris.
The duke and duchess want to stop Closer selling its photographs to any other media.
Arguments by lawyers for the royal couple and Mondadori, the Italian publishing house that owns Closer, were heard at the Tribunal de Grande Instance in Nanterre, before the court adjourned its decision until today.
The couple’s lawyer, Aurélien Hamelle, told the French court he was seeking €5,000 (£4,000) in damages from Closer and an injunction forcing the magazine to stop publishing the issue with the photos.
He also asked the court to fine Closer €10,000 (£8,000) a day for each day the injunction is not respected, and €100,000 (£80,000) if the photos are sold.
Mondadori lawyer Delphine Pando told the court that the photos were not the company’s to sell. She said: “We are not the owners of these photos. The photos are out there. If a TV show wants to show an image of this [magazine] edition, it’s got nothing to do with us.”
Lawyers for the royal couple have also asked France’s criminal prosecutors to consider charging the photographer who took the photographs of the duchess while she was on holiday with her husband at a château in Provence owned by Viscount Linley, the Queen’s nephew.
“We can confirm that a criminal complaint has been made to the French Prosecution Department today,” a spokeswoman for St James’s Palace said. “The complaint concerns the taking of photographs of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge whilst on holiday and the publication of those photographs in breach of their privacy.”
Now the complaint has been made, it is up to the French prosecutor to investigate and possibly lay charges over the images published last week.
The three magistrates overseeing the case are set to announce at 11am whether an injuction will be granted.
Chi, an Italian gossip magazine also owned by Mondadori, published a 26-page spread with the topless photos featuring Kate, despite the legal action on behalf of the couple in France. Yesterday, the editor warned that the royal couple had no legal redress in Italy.
Alfonso Signorini, defending his decision to publish pictures of Kate sunbathing, said the images were taken from a public road by photographers on public land and were permissible under Italian privacy laws.
A special edition of the magazine, which is owned by former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, was published.
The front cover of Chi has the words “Kate Middleton Court Scandal – the Queen is nude!”.
Mr Signorini said it was his business to “sell photographic scoops” and he was the director of a newspaper, “not a supermarket”.
“I don’t sell artichokes and carrots, I sell photographic scoops,” he said. “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.
“They are natural pictures, there is no morbidity about them, there is nothing that could affect the dignity of the person involved, the Duchess of Cambridge.
“Lastly, they were taken on a public road by photographers on public land. The duchess was sunbathing on a terrace, sadly for her.
“The Italian privacy laws say that we can quite happily take pictures from a public road, of personalities, exposed places, in open air.”
A spokeswoman for St James’s Palace said on Saturday that “all proportionate” responses to the publication of the photos in Italy would be kept under review.
“Any such publication would serve no purpose other than to cause further, entirely unjustifiable upset to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who were enjoying time alone together in the privacy of a relative’s home,” she said.
A source said that William and Kate, who are staying overnight on the remote island resort of Tavanipupu in the Solomon Islands, were still at the centre of events and in control of them.
The source said: “For the duke and duchess, it’s very much a case of focusing on the tour, though they are being kept aware of the developments and directing a lot of the developments.”
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