Two senior editors of French celebrity magazine Closer returned to court Wednesday to appeal hefty fines for printing photographs of Prince William’s wife Kate sunbathing topless in 2012.
Two photographers, suspected of taking the offending shots, are also appealing fines in a case that sparked a scandal in Britain a year after the second-in-line to the British throne married his long-term girlfriend Kate Middleton.
Closer published the grainy snaps of the couple by a pool, Kate wearing only bikini bottoms, while on holiday at a chateau in the Luberon region of southeastern France in September 2012.
The magazine’s editor Laurence Pieau and publisher Ernesto Mauri were both found guilty of breach of privacy in September 2017 and fined 45,000 euros ($53,000) each.
Photographers Cyril Moreau and Dominique Jacovides, who deny taking the long-lens shots, were also each ordered to pay 5,000-euro fines, with another 5,000 euros payable if they reoffended.
The magazine had to pay out 100,000 euros in damages after the royal couple filed a claim for 1.5 million euros over what they said was a “serious breach of privacy”.
William and Kate also obtained an injunction preventing further use of the images.
During the trial, Closer’s lawyers argued that the pictures were in the public interest and conveyed a “positive image” of the royals.
But in a letter read out in court in May last year, William said the case had brought back painful memories of the paparazzi hounding his mother, Princess Diana, who was killed in a Paris car crash in 1997 while being chased by photographers.
Closer’s lawyer Paul-Albert Iweins appealed the ruling, arguing that the fines were “exaggerated for a simple privacy case”.
The photographers’ lawyer Francois Blisten told AFP ahead of Wednesday’s hearing in Versailles, west of Paris, that he would argue for the pair to be acquitted due to insufficient evidence.