French court to rule on Kate pics
The row over topless photographs of the Duchess of Cambridge has escalated as the editor of the Irish Daily Star was suspended for using them and a French court announced it will decide on Tuesday whether to halt further publication.
Michael O'Kane now faces an investigation after the newspaper re-ran the images - originally published by France's Closer magazine - its Ireland-based co-owners Independent News and Media (INM) said.
Earlier, the Tribunal de Grande Instance in Paris said it expected to rule at noon on Tuesday on an injunction to prevent further use of the photographs showing the Duchess of Cambridge sunbathing topless on holiday in France.
The civil case is seeking 5,000 euro (£4,034) in damages and a ban on French Closer re-publishing the images. Representing the royal couple, lawyer Aurelien Hamelle also asked the court to fine Closer 10,000 euro (£8,070) a day for each day the injunction is not respected, and 100,000 (£80,720) if the photos are sold.
Delphine Pando, representing Italian publishing group Mondadori, which owns France's Closer, told the court that the photos are not theirs to sell. "The photos are out there. If a TV show wants to show an image of this (magazine) edition, it's got nothing to do with us," she said.
Lawyers for William and Kate have also asked France's criminal prosecutors to consider charging the photographer who took the pictures.
INM's move to suspend Mr O'Kane this evening comes just hours after Alan Shatter, the Irish Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence said the Republic will introduce privacy laws on the back of the scandal. "It is clear that some sections of the print media are either unable or unwilling in their reportage to distinguish between prurient interest and the public interest," he said.
Jointly owned by Richard Desmond's Northern and Shell and INM, the Irish Daily Star's decision to use the pictures on Saturday infuriated the media mogul.
Mr Desmond has said he wants it shut down with insiders at his corporation warning "he says what he means, and means what he says".
In a statement, the company behind the Dublin operation, Independent Star, said of the decision to suspend Mr O'Kane: "Independent Star Limited has suspended editor Michael O'Kane with immediate effect, pending an investigation into the circumstances that led to the Irish Daily Star re-publishing pages from the French magazine 'Closer', which contained images of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Independent Star Limited has no further comment pending conclusion of the joint investigation by the newspaper's shareholders."