In the newest step to the ever-growing court drama around Kate Middleton’s topless photos, police may have broken the law this morning in France when they raided the Closer magazine headquarters, searching for clues about who photographed the couple while tanning themselves in Provence. We’ve previously told you about photo laws in France—they have strict rules about when someone can be photographed, and the legality of printing those photos without permission. Yesterday morning, a court in France ordered Closer to stop all printing and distribution of the photos, with a 10,000 euro daily fine if circulation continued. They would have to pay 100,000 euros if they sold the photos to a magazine in a country where the photos have not yet been published.
Barrister Christophe Bigot explained, “A law of 2 January 2010 protects the confidentiality of sources, as do numerous decisions of the European Court of Human Rights . . . In the case of William and Kate, I do not see how a prosecutor could justify a search of Closer.” For those of you who didn’t ace Advanced Placement Government in high school, let me translate that: law and court precedent say that journalistic contributors may remain confidential. If the police raid does turn up the name of the paparazzi responsible, it may be deemed illegal to use in court. A source with the police explained the purpose behind the raid: “The aim is to seize any information which might lead to the identity of the photographer.” So you see, the purpose of the raid may, in itself, be against the law.
Daily Mail printed a useful photo of the chateau, shown from a winding road half a mile away. It marks that the photographs were taken from a vantage point on the road. If you check out the photo (link to photo please!) you can barely see the house. This will be useful in Prince William and Kate’s dispute: the photos were taken with a very strong zoom feature, and in any other circumstance would have been impossible to obtain without trespassing.
And the identity of the photographer? Right now everyone’s best guess is Valerie Suau, who has already confirmed that she took photos of Kate in a bikini, but says that is all she took. It’s been a rough week for Kate. We know she is jetlagged from her royal tour in south east Asia. Earlier, we reported a wardrobe malfunction as she deplaned in Brisbane, Australia. Now it seems that French law may be protecting the photographer who showed the world her royal bazoomas. She’ll be home soon, where I expect we’ll see her out on a girls day with Pippa Middleton, trying to forget the last two weeks! We’ll have more later as it is determined whether or not the police overstepped their boundaries when raiding Closer headquarters.