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Last Updated: Friday, 24 October, 2003, 05:28 GMT 06:28 UK
Diana photographers on trial
By Caroline Wyatt
BBC correspondent in Paris

Three photographers are to go on trial in a Paris court on Friday for taking pictures at the scene of the car crash that killed Princess Diana, Dodi Fayed, and their French driver Henri Paul in August 1997.

They are charged with invasion of privacy, after an earlier attempt to prosecute them for manslaughter for failing to give assistance to the victims of an accident failed.

Diana, Princess of Wales
Diana was killed in a car crash in Paris in 1997
Jacques Langevin of the Sygma/Corbis agency, Christian Martinez of the Angelis agency and freelancer Eric Chassery could get up to one year in prison and a 45,000 euro fine if they are found guilty.

The one-day hearing stems from a complaint filed by Mohammed Al Fayed, whose son Dodi died in the crash alongside Princess Diana.

Last year, France's highest court found the photographers not guilty of having contributed to the crash, despite the paparazzi's high-speed pursuit of the car.

Instead a French investigation decided that the driver, Henri Paul, was to blame, driving too fast under the influence of alcohol.

So Mr Al Fayed instead pursued another legal option, this time using France's stringent privacy laws.

The photographers took pictures of Diana and Dodi in the car both before and after the accident, though none taken at the crash site was ever published.

The case will centre on whether or not the inside of the couple's car should be considered a private space.

The charges are expected to relate only to the images of Dodi Fayed, as Diana's family are not party to the complaint.

The BBC's Caroline Wyatt
"This is an unusual charge"


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