Diana photographers retried in Paris

23rd June 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, June 22 (AFP) - Three photographers who were part of the press pack that chased Diana, Princess of Wales, the night of her fatal car accident in Paris in 1997 were re-tried by a French court Tuesday on accusations that they took pictures that broke privacy laws.

PARIS, June 22 (AFP) - Three photographers who were part of the press pack that chased Diana, Princess of Wales, the night of her fatal car accident in Paris in 1997 were re-tried by a French court Tuesday on accusations that they took pictures that broke privacy laws.

The new hearing, seven months after being acquitted in an earlier trial, was the result of an appeal lodged by Mohamed Al-Fayed, the millionaire Egyptian father of Diana's companion Dodi, and state prosecutors.

Fabrice Chassery, Jacques Langevin and Christian Martinez are accused of violating French privacy laws by taking photos of Diana and Dodi as the couple left the Ritz hotel in Paris owned by Fayed and then as the two lay broken in the wreckage of their Mercedes in a nearby tunnel.

"I did the job I was supposed to do," Langevin, the only one of the three photographers to attend the hearing Tuesday, told the court.

"I don't feel I infringed on the intimacy of a private place," he said, noting that the relationship between Diana and Dodi had been the "soap opera of that summer".

The state prosecutor's office said it did not contest three photos taken at the crash scene, deeming them protected by freedom of press laws. It suggested that three photos of Diana and Dodi leaving the hotel might have infringed privacy laws, but nonetheless recommended a new acquittal.

The court is to deliver its verdict September 14.

Diana, 36, and Dodi Al-Fayed, 42, died on the night of August 31, 1997 shortly after leaving the Ritz. Their chauffeur Henri Paul, who also died, was found in the official French inquest to have been responsible for the crash because he was driving drunk at high speed.

Chassery, a freelance photographer at the time, Langevin, who worked for the Sygma/Corbis agency, and Martinez of the Angeli agency, were originally cleared of the charges against them when a court determined that they did not photograph any intimate moments and that the inside of a car did not constitute a private place.

The US television network CBS in April showed indistinct black-and-white pictures of Diana dying in the car wreck, drawing expressions of shock and anger from Diana's family and Fayed.

The network said it had obtained the images from a copy of the confidential French investigation into the accident, but gave no other details as to their source.

Fayed's persistent claims that the couple was murdered has prompted two investigations currently underway in Britain.

In April this year, Britain's most senior police officer, John Stevens, visited the Paris tunnel where the accident occurred.

Stevens spent 20 minutes in the underpass by the Alma bridge over the river Seine, accompanied by the British royal coroner Michael Burgess who ordered his investigation.

He described his inspection - carried out in the glare of British media - as "extremely valuable", and said he hoped to wrap up his investigation by the end of the year.

Murder allegations have centred on claims that the British establishment may have wanted to get rid of Diana because she was having a romantic liaison with a Muslim man.

© AFP

Subject: French news

 

 

 

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