More publishers defy Royal family to print topless pictures of Kate
John Lichfield has been The Independent's man in Paris since 1997, covering French news. Before that, he was the paper's Foreign Editor and he has also worked in Brussels and Washington. In 1999, he was the UK press Awards Foreign Reporter of the year.
Thursday 20 September 2012
Danish and Swedish magazines yesterday defied the Royal family and decided to print some of the topless photographs of the Duchess of Cambridge already published in France and Italy.
Se & Hoer (See & Hear), a Swedish celebrity magazine, published some of the images yesterday. Its Danish sister magazine is doing so in a 16-page supplement today.
"It is nothing new to us to publish nude photos of celebrities on holiday," said Carina Lofkvist, editor of the Swedish magazine. Earlier, confusion surrounded a reported police raid on the Paris offices of the magazine Closer, which first published the images last Friday. Several French news websites said police had swooped on the magazine's offices yesterday morning searching for the identity of the paparazzo who took the photographs.
The reports were later dismissed as "completely untrue" by Marie-Christine Daubigney, the assistant prosecutor for the western suburbs of Paris. She said she had asked police to draw up a list of names of Closer staff, including the journalist who wrote the article alongside the topless images. The search for the photographer who took the pictures will come later, she said.
On Tuesday, the French state prosecution service agreed to start a preliminary investigation into a possible criminal prosecution of Closer and the unidentified photographer for invading the Duchess's right to privacy.
Apart from the civil action decided in their favour on Tuesday, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have asked the French authorities to open a criminal case for invasion of privacy.
This step, rare in France, is intended to flush out the identity of the photographer and to punish the magazine more severely than the low damages usually awarded by French civil courts.
If convicted, Closer's publishers could be fined up to €225,000. The photographer would face a fine of up to €45,000.
On Tuesday, the prosecution service accepted the royal request and opened a preliminary inquiry. This is likely to lead to the appointment of an investigating magistrate who will amass the evidence for and against a possible prosecution – a process likely to take several months.
Criminal prosecutions for invasion of privacy in France are rare. Of the 300 or so civil cases brought by French celebrities or members of the public each year, only two or three reach the criminal courts.
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