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French court to rule on topless Kate pics
Publication of topless photos of Britain’s Prince William’s wife, Kate, must be stopped, an attorney told a French court, which said it would rule Tuesday.
The duke and duchess of Cambridge were “profoundly shocked and troubled” by the photos’ publication, said attorney Aurelien Hamelle, who asked for an injunction against further publication and said French gossip magazine Closer also should be fined.
Closer published photos of Kate Friday without a swimsuit top during a vacation at a private villa in France’s southeastern Provence region on the Mediterranean near Italy.
“In what name did this magazine publish these shocking photos?” Hamelle asked. “It was certainly not in the name of information. This has no place on the cover of a magazine or even in an article in a magazine.”
William and Kate, both 30, were at “a holiday place, a private house” and “had a right to be there out of the public eye,” he said. “They could not be seen by the naked eye by someone passing — they could only be seen by a [camera] lens, and that is the problem.”
Kate was “violated” by the photos’ publication, Hamelle said. “She is a young woman, not an object,” he said.
“The humiliation of the duchess has evoked memories of the tragedy of Princess Diana,” William’s mother, Hamelle told the court in the Paris suburb of Nanterre.
Diana was killed in a Paris tunnel car crash Aug. 31, 1997 — almost 15 years to the day before the topless Kate photos were taken. Diana’s car was being chased by paparazzi at the time of the accident.
Hamelle told the court he wanted $6,550 in damages from Closer in addition to the injunction. He additionally sought $13,100 a day from Closer for each day the injunction is not respected and $131,000 if Closer sells the photos.
Closer attorney Delphine Pando told the court Closer didn’t own the photos so it couldn’t sell them.
“The photos are out there,” she said. “If a TV program wants to show an image of this [magazine] edition, it’s got nothing to do with us.”
Closer had no intention of republishing the photographs but had no control over the agency that had them, Pando said.
She added the storm over the photos — which she called a “disproportionate response” to their publication — was created by the royal couple, not the magazine.
“The damage came from the direct declaration of the couple,” she said, asking the judge to throw out the case.
The court said it would announce its decision at noon Paris time (6 a.m. EDT).
On Monday, the same day of the legal arguments, Closer’s Italian sister publication, Chi, published the same pictures as Closer, plus a previously unseen image, in a 26-page special issue under the headline, “The Queen is Naked.”
Both magazines are published by Arnoldo Mondadori Editore, Italy’s biggest publisher, owned former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
Irish tabloid the Irish Daily Star published 10 other topless Kate photos from the same set Saturday, prompting Ireland’s justice minister to promise a review of Ireland’s privacy laws. Star editor Michael O’Kane was suspended while an internal investigation was carried out into the decision to run the photos.
The newspaper was under threat of closure since publishing the pictures, British newspaper The Guardian reported.
Copyright 2012 by United Press International