Royal couple wins ban on photos

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Royal couple wins ban on photos


PARIS - Prince William and wife Catherine headed home from Tuvalu on Wednesday after securing a ban on a French magazine distributing topless pictures of her and launching a criminal probe into how they were obtained.

French authorities on Tuesday banned Closer magazine from any further distribution of the paparazzi pictures of Prince William’s wife Catherine sunbathing topless in the south of France earlier this month.

An injunction granted by a court at Nanterre in the Paris suburbs ordered the magazine to hand over all forms of the pictures to the British royal couple within 24 hours or face a 10,000 euro ($14,586) fine for each day’s delay.

The injunction also bans the glossy magazine from reusing them in print or on its Web site or reselling, and specifies a fine of 10,000 euros for each infraction.

William and the former Kate Middleton left the relative calm of Tuvalu after a night of feasting and dancing on Wednesday, embarking on the long flight home via Brisbane, Australia.

“The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge welcome the judge’s ruling,” read a statement from St James’s Palace in London.

The injunction will have no impact on the pictures that have already been widely circulated on the Internet following publication by Closer as well as Ireland’s Daily Star and Italy’s Chi magazine.

It was granted hours after a prosecutor launched a preliminary investigation into whether the magazine and the photographer, or photographers, who took the pictures had committed a criminal act.

The terms of the injunction mean it is virtually certain to lead to a full investigation of allegations that taking and publishing the pictures violated the couple’s right to privacy.

Tuesday’s ruling said the pictures were “by their nature, particularly intrusive” and had been taken in a place where the couple could “legitimately assume they were safe from prying eyes”.

The royals’ criminal complaint cites persons unknown, but aides say they want proceedings against both the editor of Closer and the photographer who took the shots of the couple at a chateau in the south of France earlier this month.

In theory both could face fines of up to 45,000 euros and prison terms if convicted. In practice, no one has ever been imprisoned for breaching the privacy law and fines are usually well below the maximum.

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