Photographers fined for Diana crash pictures

22nd February 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Feb 22, 2006 (AFP) - Three French photographers have each been fined a symbolic one euro by France's appeals court for taking pictures of Princess Diana and her boyfriend Dodi Al-Fayed on the night they were killed in a Paris car crash in 1997, justice officials said Wednesday.

PARIS, Feb 22, 2006 (AFP) - Three French photographers have each been fined a symbolic one euro by France's appeals court for taking pictures of Princess Diana and her boyfriend Dodi Al-Fayed on the night they were killed in a Paris car crash in 1997, justice officials said Wednesday.

Jacques Langevin, Fabrice Chassery and Christian Martinez were cleared of breach of privacy charges in court rulings in 2003 and 2004, but Dodi's father Egyptian millionaire Mohamed Al-Fayed took the case to France's high court of appeal, the Cour de Cassation.

The Cour de Cassation quashed the acquittal and referred the charges back to the appeals court, which last Friday ruled that the photographers had indeed broken the law and issued the symbolic fine, the officials said.

The three took pictures of the couple as they left the Ritz hotel in central Paris on the night of August 31, and a few minutes later at the scene of the crash in the Alma underpass.

The appeals court also ordered the photographers to pay for the publication of its ruling in three "national or international newspapers chosen by the civil plaintiff," Mohammed Al-Fayed.

According to the court, both series of pictures -- outside the hotel and at the crash scene -- were a breach of France's strict rules on privacy.

"The photographs (at the hotel) were taken with Dodi Al-Fayed inside the vehicle, a location where access is forbidden without permission of the occupant and which therefore comes under the definition of a private place," the court found.

Concerning the second series at the crash scene, the court said that the "car's involvement in an accident and the consequent opening of a door, exposing a seriously injured person involuntarily to outside view, in no way diminishes (the car's) quality as a private place.

"By showing Dodi Al-Fayed mortally injured, bloody, his body broken by the shock of the accident, the photographers unquestionably committed a breach of the respect due to a human being and as a result violated the personal privacy of the individual concerned," the court said.

There was no immediate reaction from Mohammed Al-Fayed, who has blamed paparazzi photographers for hounding his son and Princess Diana to their deaths.

A French judicial enquiry found that the cause of the accident was the excessive speed at which the couple's Mercedes limousine was being driven, as well as the alcohol and prescription drugs found in the bloodstream of Henri Paul, the chauffeur who also died in the crash.

But a British police enquiry was set up two years ago to look into claims -- supported by Al-Fayed -- that the deaths were not an accident but the result a plot, possibly within the British establishment.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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