By Dexter Keyton, EnStarz | Sep 15, 2012 10:23 AM EDT
The photos of a topless Kate Middleton have sparked outrage with the royal family leading to a lawsuit with the French magazine "Closer". But is there ground for criminal charges against the photographer who snapped the pictures?
On Friday, E! News interviewed Pierre Hourcade, a French attorney, who says it's an option.
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"If photographs of Kate Middleton have been taken and published without her consent during her holidays, she may file a complaint on the basis of article 9 of the French civil code and article 226-1 of the penal code."
Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, is pursuing legal action for invasion of privacy against the French tabloid. On Friday, "Closer" published what appears to be the Duchess sunbathing topless. The pictures were taken of Prince William and his wife while they were relaxing at a private house in southern France where the couple vacationed last month.
Hourcade, who has no association with the royal family, said that photographic images of a person fall under the protection of respect for the private lives of an individual. If convicted under French law for violating a person's right to privacy the punishment is a jail fine of 45,000 euros (almost $60,000) and up to a year imprisonment.
The law states that public figures such as the Duke and Duchess are allowed to be photographed as long as they're performing official duties in a public space. Since they were on vacation in a private residence it constitutes a theft of their private image leading for grounds of criminal charges.
Additionally, the magazine responsible for publishing the images may have their photos seized and be forced to publish the legal results if the photographer is convicted.
The topless photos have been taken off the "Closer" website, but its' editor, Laurence Pieau, defends posting the pictures stating that they were "beautiful" and "not in the least bit shocking."
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