Wills-Kate launch criminal charges

Sep 18, 2012, 07:17 IST | Agencies

Lawyers for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have begun a bid in a French court to stop the sale and distribution of topless pictures of the duchess.

The royal couple earlier launched a criminal complaint in France in relation to the publication of the images by French magazine Closer.

The images have appeared on foreign websites, the Irish Daily Star and most recently Italian gossip magazine Chi. Chi said it was merely exercising its right to ‘chronicle reality’.

Welcome — Marau style: Catherine and Prince William meet village elders during their visit to Tuvanipupu Island on their Diamond Jubilee tour of the Far East yesterday in Honiara, Guadalcanal Island. Ppic/Getty Images

Aurelien Hamel, the French lawyer representing Prince William and Catherine, was first to speak when the civil action began. Hamel told the court that the scenes captured were intimate and personal, with no place on the front page of a magazine.

He said the royal couple could not have known they were being photographed, adding it would only have been possible to see the couple with a long lens.

He called for the original digital images to be handed over with a fine of 10,000 euros (Rs 7 lakh) for each day of non-compliance.

An injunction, if granted, would lead to the magazine being withdrawn from shelves immediately but the tribunal’s judgment will only relate to the distribution of the photos in France.
The action has not stopped Closer’s Italian sister magazine, Chi, from publishing the same photos but the speed with which the royal couple have acted may deter others from publishing the pictures.

Chi has printed a special edition featuring more than 20 pages of the photographs. The magazine’s director, Alfonso Signorini, attempted to justify the decision to print the images by saying he considered them to be “normal and up to date with the times”. He said, “Why, I wonder, Kate Middleton, for now Duchess of Cambridge but future queen of the United Kingdom, should be different from girls her age?                           

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