Topless Kate photos injunction: now could journos be jailed?

Sep 18, 2012

Royals' legal victory against Closer magazine welcomed - but is the injunction too late?

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REACTION to the Duke and Duchess's court victory in Paris this morning has generally been one of delight - but many fear the injunction they won against the French version of Closer magazine has come too late.

As most legal advisers had predicted, the court in Nanterre, in the Parisian suburbs, came down quickly on the royal couple's side, agreeing that the publication of long-lens topless photographs of Kate topless by a private pool in Provence was a "blatant" infringement of her privacy.

The particularly intrusive nature of the photographs – it was a private holiday - meant the couple had been "brutally" exposed, The Times reports.

The court duly imposed an injunction banning Closer from publishing any further photographs from the shoot, or from selling or distributing the pictures to a third party. If they break the injunction, the publishers of Closer - a French subsidiary of Montadori, ultimately owned by Sylvio Berlusconi - will be fined €10,000 for each infringement.

The court also ruled that Montadori has 24 hours to hand over the original photos to the royal couple's representatives. For every day they miss the deadline they will fined €10,000. In addition, the royal couple were awarded €2,000 towards their legal costs.
A lawyer for Closer argued that the couple's reaction was disproportionate, saying topless photographs were no longer considered shocking and insisting the house where they were photographed was accessible to public view.
But the court was unmoved and is now considering whether there are grounds for criminal charges, reports The Daily Telegraph. Under French criminal law, proceedings could be brought against the photographer – still unnamed - and possibly against the editor of Closer France, Laurence Pieau, who in theory could be jailed for up to 12 months.
Labour MP Chris Bryant was among those who tweeted that he was "delighted" at the injunction, adding: "Quite right."
But several people have already questioned if the injunction is too late to have any impact. "Talk about shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted," wrote one tweeter. Another noted that the decision came "after the whole world saw the photos".
Closer may have been given 24 hours to hand over photos of the Duchess of Cambridge, but as one tweeter added: "The internet has them now".
Italian magazine Chi also printed 26 pages of the photographs in a special edition yesterday. Meanwhile, Irish Daily Star editor Michael O'Kane has been suspended while an internal investigation is carried out into his decision to publish the photographs.

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