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Royal couple win case over topless photos

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Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton during a visit to Tuvalu on the Solomon Islands.

Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton during a visit to Tuvalu on the Solomon Islands.

The Duchess of Cambridge gets into costume with locals at Vaiaku Falekaupule during a visit to Tuvalu, Solomon Islands.

The Duchess of Cambridge gets into costume with locals at Vaiaku Falekaupule during a visit to Tuvalu, Solomon Islands.

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Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton during a visit to Tuvalu on the Solomon Islands.

PRINCE William and his wife Kate won their fight yesterday to block a French magazine from republishing or selling the pictures of the duchess topless.

The civil court at the Tribunal de Grand Instance in Nanterre, Paris, also ordered 'Closer' magazine to hand over all files of the pictures to representatives of the couple within 24 hours.

Mondatori Magazines France -- part of Silvio Berlusconi's media empire -- faces a fine of €10,000 for every day's delay and was ordered to pay €2,000 in damages.

The ruling prevents 'Closer', which published the pictures on Friday, from reusing them in print or on its website, as well as from selling them in markets where they have not yet been published. The penalty for sale of the photos was set at €100,000.

Publication of the photos, taken while the couple were on holiday in Provence on September 5, was also banned "on digital tablets".

The pictures are already on the internet and have been printed in the 'Irish Daily Star' and Italy's 'Chi' magazine.

Damage

The ruling does not prevent the photographer, whose identity is unknown, from selling the pictures to other publications and a judicial source conceded that it would be impossible to guarantee that 'Closer' had handed in all files containing copies of the photos.

The ruling cited the civil code that states that "any person, whatever his fame, his present or future functions, has the right to the respect of his private life and image".

"These snapshots, which showed the intimacy of a couple, partially naked on the terrace of a private home, surrounded by a park several hundred meters from a public road, and being able to legitimately assume that they are protected from passers-by, are by nature particularly intrusive," the French ruling decreed.

However, the court ruled that it was "beyond its powers" to prevent the offending magazine being published again, but added that if 'Closer' were to print more copies, the royal couple would be within in their rights to demand its withdrawal "within 24 hours".

Their lawyers had not asked for copies of the magazine already in newsagents to be removed from shelves, saying: "The damage has already been done."

Earlier, a French prosecutor opened a preliminary criminal investigation into the publication of pictures.

This could lead to a full investigation into whether taking and publishing the pictures breached privacy laws. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent