Parisian paparazzi off the hook

The three photographers at the centre of a civil suit brought by Mohammed Al Fayed have been cleared of breaching privacy.

Mr Al Fayed had brought the action in respect of his son Dodi, claiming invasion of privacy for pictures taken of Dodi and Princess Diana in their car on the night of their fatal crash in Paris.

French privacy law provides that the interior of a car is a private place and those falling foul of the law can face heavy fines or imprisonment.

The photographers had argued that Dodi and Diana were happy enough for them to take pictures when it suited and as such could be said to have courted publicity. More importantly perhaps, the photographs in question had been taken through the open door of the car and not been published.

At today's hearing the court acquitted Fabrice Chassery, Christian Martinez and Jacques Langevin. The three photographers had also been among the nine charged with manslaughter following the crash. Charges against all of them were dropped by France's superior couirt last year.

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