Closer magazine must give the original topless photos to Kate Middleton
Kate Middleton and Prince William have won a landmark legal case to block further publication of “highly intimate” topless photographs of the Duchess of Cambridge.
The Royal couple’s lawyers have successfully secured an injunction from a French court preventing the images being spread across the globe by the owners of Closer – the first to publish the naked pictures.
The ruling in Paris this morning means:
• Closer France must not print any more copies of its controversial issue and take the topless pictures off its website
• The photos cannot be published in any other magazines or papers in France
• The photographs cannot be sold by them to anyone else in the world
• Closer would get a 10,000 euro daily fine each time they sell them on or publish them
• Within 24 hours the offending pictures must be handed over to the Palace
• Legal fees of 2,000 euros handed to the Duke and Duchess
At the start of the unprecedented court case in Paris, barrister Aurelien Hammelle evoked memories of Princess Diana’s ordeal at the hands of paparazzi as he said a photographer had violated Kate Middleton’s privacy, adding she is a “young woman, not an object”.
Judges today agreed the magazine must “give back” the equipment on which the digital photos were stored and banned the images from sale in France or abroad within 24 hours. Legal fees of 2000 euros were also awarded to the Royal couple.
Closer magazine will now have to pay a 10,000 euros daily fine if photos of the Duchess of Cambridge are re-published.
The Duke and Duchess have also filed a criminal complaint under France’s privacy laws which could see Closer fined up 50,000 euros and its editor serve up to a year in prison. And they have filed against “persons unknown”, referring to the photographer, who has not yet been identified.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are suing the French Closer magazine for printing semi-naked pictures of Kate last week.
It is the first time that a member of the Royal Family has sued a publication through the courts in France.
Yesterday their lawyer Aurelien Hammelle accused Closer magazine of intruding on a “highly intimate moment” by taking the topless pictures of Kate while she was on a private holiday at a chateau in Provence.
The lawyer compared the “grotesque invasion” to the relentless pursuit of Princess Diana by photographers.
The photographer responsible should be prosecuted, the Royals say.
Aurelien Hammelle said the pictures of the Duchess were taken “just six days after the 15th anniversary of the useless, cynical and morbid hunt which led to the death of William’s mother”.
The Royal couple is seeking 5,000 euro in damages and a ban on the French magazine – which is run by a different company from the British version – re-publishing the images.
Aurelien Hamelle has also asked the court to fine Closer 10,000 euro a day for each day the injunction is not respected, and 100,000 if the photos are sold.
But lawyers representing Italian publishing group Mondadori, which owns France’s Closer and is controlled by former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, told the court that the photos are not theirs to sell.
He said the Royal couple wanted all editions of the magazine removed from the shops, and to ban further distribution of the photos.
The pictures were taken “in a highly intimate moment during a scene of married life and have no place on the cover of a magazine”, he said.
William and Kate have indicated that they are prepared to present evidence themselves, once they return from their royal tour in the Far East.
The lawyer told the Tribunal de Grande Instance in Paris that the couple could not have known they were being photographed and it would only have been possible to see them with a long lens.
He said Silvio Berlusconi’s company Mondadori, which owns the French edition of Closer, should be fined 10,000 euros per day if it fails to hand over the original digital images.
A judge is expected to decide whether to grant William and Kate an injunction over any further publication or sale of the pictures at midday today.
However, any fine is likely to be dwarfed by the amount the magazine has made over the past five days.
Most French newsagents have sold out and the magazine’s iPad application keeps crashing because so many are trying to view the pictures.
The magazine’s legal team has infuriated the Royal couple by saying their fuss made it big news and that they shouldn’t have been sunbathing so close to a public road, lawyer Delphine Pando said.
Yesterday the Duke and Duchess also started criminal proceedings against the photographer, or photographers, who took the pictures.
However, he or she may never appear before a court because of strict laws in France which protect media organizations from having to name their sources.
Some say the photographer was Valerie Suau who is known to have taken pictures of the Duke and Duchess on the same holiday. She has denied taking any topless shots.
Delphine Pando, representing Closer, claimed topless photographs were no longer considered shocking.
She also said the magazine did not hold the syndication rights to the pictures, so it could not be proved that it intended to republish them.
Meanwhile as they continue to focus on the day job, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were carried from a private jet on thrones today as they embarked on the last leg of their Diamond Jubilee tour.
The royal couple arrived in Tuvalu, a small cluster of islands in the South Pacific, and were greeted by an enthusiastic 5,000-strong local crowd.
Prince William and Kate had earlier stayed on the South Pacific isle of Tavanipupu, where they had a private meal in one of the most romantic spots on earth.
The Duke and Duchess also went snorkelling under the stars in the middle of a tropical downpour last night.
The couple was staying on the South Pacific isle of Tavanipupu, one of the most romantic spots on earth.
Short URL: http://www.bellenews.com/?p=23923