Photographer fined for Princess Diana and Dodi luxury yacht photos

Princess Diana relaxing on a luxury yacht

AFP:- A Paris appeals court has convicted British celebrity photographer Jason Fraser of invasion of privacy by snapping photos of Princess Diana kissing her boyfriend Dodi Fayed on a luxury yacht.

It overturned on Thursday the not guilty verdict made by another court in 2006 and fined Fraser, as well as the publisher of the France Dimanche weekly which published the pictures in 1997, 3,000 euros (2,400 pounds) each.

Fraser, 41, was also ordered to pay Mohamed Al Fayed, Dodi’s father, 5,000 euros (3,900 pounds) in damages. The convicted men were also told to pay him 3,000 euros towards his legal fees.

It was Mohamed Al Fayed, the Egyptian-born billionaire owner of London’s upscale Harrods department store and the Ritz Hotel in Paris, who took the case to court.

They showed Diana and Fayed kissing on a yacht off the Italian Riviera village of Portofino shortly before the crash, and reportedly earned Fraser more than two million euros in sales to British tabloids and abroad.

He was taken to court in France because those British newspapers were available in France, and because the photos were also reprinted in the French publications Paris Match and France Dimanche.

The court in 2006 had found Fraser not guilty because it accepted arguments that the privacy of Diana and Fayed had not been breached because they had not tried to hide from photographers as they relaxed on the yacht.

But the appeals court on Thursday took a diametrically opposed view, ruling that not hiding from photographers “could not in any way be interpreted as an implicit acceptance that their pictures be taken.”

It noted that this argument was all the stronger because of the great lengths to which photographers went to take such pictures, using powerful zoom lenses, helicopters, and boats to snap celebrities.

The court said that France Dimanche for its part had published pictures “showing the couple in a moment of intimacy (in photos) taken by means which invaded their privacy.”

But Fraser’s lawyer William Bourdon said “the ruling is extremely questionable legally … we have high hopes that the supreme court will overturn this strange ruling.”

London-born Fraser, who speaks fluent French, was said to have been in close contact with Diana in the weeks before her death, but he was not in Paris the night of the crash that killed her and Fayed.

He told the BBC in 2002: “I was the person who revealed her relationship, I don’t know whether that feels good or not, but I will be remembered for it.”

4 Responses

  1. So basically the judge convicted this man because a known personality was in a public space in another country and he happen to take pictures of her. Being a known personality in a public space, she (and thus her boyfriend) by this point in her life must have been aware of the existence of celebrity photographers… And because the publishers who purchased the distribution rights published and sold the images in that country.

    How does a French court have jurisdiction over what a man is doing outside of France?

    Is it then invasion of privacy simply because of the act of taking the photo or the distribution, and then either without even implied consent, or some combination?

    If the invasion of privacy is on the distribution and sale of images in France then the man was not involved in the actual distribution it was the publishers, so if this was a legitimate case the publishers should get sued. But they are not, so it would seem that just the simple act of pressing the shutter button and saving an image to media of any person without at least implied consent is illegal in France, furthermore the French courts jurisdiction extends globally if the photo is made available on the Internet because you can access the image from a computer in France…

    So does that mean that anyone who takes a picture of anyone in or out of France without their implied consent, and posts it to their blog or Flickr account is breaking French privacy law and liable? If I take a picture in Disney World using a zoom lens and then crop in on that picture to show some people walking can they then sue me if I post this picture online? It appears so if they go to this French court.

    Even the German photography laws are not this backwards and draconian.

    What a joke… this Judge should be ashamed.

  2. I am writing this e-mail in order to make the following question: Is Princess Diana Yacht looking for a crew recruitment ? The question is because there is an e-mail advertisment sent by Cap Allen Harry for new positions on board! I would like to have a reply to confirm veracity on this publication .Thank you very much in advance.

    Regards Claudio Barria

  3. […] Posted on June 11, 2009 by Ztoryteller On a celebrity yachting blog, I found this story and photo that were captured during the week Les told me about. I decided not to post the photo since it was […]

  4. What a stunningingly beautiful photo, and Diana’s legs all by themselves qualified her for world celebrity. I am lad we have this photo.

    So sad her life was cut short. Methinks however that she and Dodi, had they not died, would have ended up divorced. The romance was too fast and she was not out of the woods with the WIndsors or her divorce. She was on the rebound and rushing headlong into something too quickly to put the past behind her.

    If she thought Charles was a stifling creep, the Muslim Dodi would have made him seem great by comparison. I think his known dark side would have surfaced onece the dew was off the rose. Men are always great until they HAVE you. Then the drama starts.

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