Diana case returns to French court

14th April 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, April 13 (AFP) - France's top appeals court on Wednesday ordered a lower court to review the case of three photographers acquitted of charges that they broke privacy laws by taking pictures of Princess Diana on the night of her fatal accident in Paris in 1997.

PARIS, April 13 (AFP) - France's top appeals court on Wednesday ordered a lower court to review the case of three photographers acquitted of charges that they broke privacy laws by taking pictures of Princess Diana on the night of her fatal accident in Paris in 1997.

Last September, the Paris appeals court found the photographers - Fabrice Chassery, Jacques Langevin and Christian Martinez - not guilty of violating privacy law, upholding a November 2003 ruling by a lower court.

The three had taken photos of Diana and her companion Dodi Fayed on the night of August 31, 1997, both when they left the Ritz Hotel owned by Dodi's millionaire Egyptian father Mohamed Al-Fayed and after their car crashed under the Alma bridge.

Al-Fayed - angry that Chassery, Langevin and Martinez had taken photos of Diana and Dodi both at the hotel and then as they lay in the wreckage of the crashed Mercedes - lodged an appeal on the privacy issue.

Last September, the Paris appeals court found that after the crash, the vehicle did not constitute a private space that warranted protection from the photographers' cameras.

The court also said the three had not captured any gestures on film at the Ritz that revealed aspects of Diana and Dodi's private life.

But on Wednesday, the Cour de Cassation asked the Paris appeals court to review the part of its decision related to the couple's car, saying it was a mistake not to consider the Mercedes a private space.

The case will now be sent back to the Paris appeals court, where a new panel of judges will hear arguments from both sides.

The couple's chauffeur, Henri Paul, who also died in the accident, was found in the official French inquest to have been responsible for the crash because he was driving drunk at high speed.

The main investigation on the causes of the accident was closed in April 2002, putting an end to formal manslaughter inquiries brought against nine photographers and a press motorcyclist.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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