London: French police have raided the offices of `Closer` magazine in Paris in the hunt for the photographer who took topless pictures of Kate Middleton, a media report today said.
Detectives confirmed they were looking for evidence at Closer`s Paris headquarters "which might lead to the identity" of the paparazzi photographer responsible, The Daily Mail reported here.
Prince William and Kate have won a court order banning French Closer ? which first published the topless photos in what French judges said was a "brutal" invasion of privacy - from selling or republishing the photographs, under the threat of a 100,000 euro fine.
However, it is the unknown photographer - not the magazine - who is thought to own the copyright to the photographs, and there is as yet nothing to prevent them from continuing to cash in on the controversial images, the report said.
It said that since French authorities have so far been unable to discover the name of the person who took the photographs at a chateau in the south of France, there is no injunction banning him or her selling the pictures in France or around the world.
Christophe Bigot, a barrister who specialises in media law, questioned the legality of the Paris raid - suggesting it had been authorised solely because members of the Royal Family were involved.
Journalistic sources, including photographers, are strictly protected by French law.
"A law of January 2, 2010, protects the confidentiality of sources, as do numerous decisions of the European Court of Human Rights," Bigot was quoted as saying.
He added, "In the case of William and Kate, I do not see how a prosecutor could justify a search of Closer".