French Court Orders Gossip Magazine to Hand Over All Topless Photos of Kate Middleton Within 24 Hours

A court in France has ruled in favor of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, ordering the gossip magazine Closer not to publish any additional photos of Kate Middleton sunbathing topless.

Additionally, Closer has 24 hours to hand over all the photos it currently has in its possession.

If the magazine flouts the ban and publishes more photos — or sells them to a third party for publication — it will be fined 10,000 euro a day. A separate ruling on damages is expected.

Elsewhere in France, criminal charges have been filed against the magazine and the photographer who snapped the shots in Provence. If found guilty of violating French privacy laws, both the photographer and Closer's editor could see up to a year behind bars as well as a hefty fine.

Chi, an Italian magazine also owned by former prime minster Silvio Berlusconi's publishing group Mondadori, could likewise face similar legal trouble for releasing more topless photos of the duchess.

But its editor said in an interview yesterday he was not concerned, as Italian laws protect paparazzi who take photos of public spaces while standing on public ground.

Ireland's Irish Daily Star, which republished the photos that appeared in Closer, may not be as lucky.

In addition to a potential civil suit, the paper itself might be shuttered by its co-owner. In order to stave off closure, the tabloid's shareholders have launched an internal investigation into the circumstances surrounding the photos' publication, and suspended editor Mike O'Kane.

[photo via AP]