Pippa Middleton wins court ban after royal photo 'hack'

A British court has barred the publication of photographs allegedly stolen from the online account of Pippa Middleton.
A British court has barred the publication of photographs allegedly stolen from the online account of Pippa Middleton. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (AFP) - A British High Court judge on Wednesday (Sept 28) granted an order barring the publication of photographs allegedly stolen from the online account of Pippa Middleton, Prince William's sister-in-law.

Around 3,000 photographs were reported to have been taken from Middleton's iCloud account, including shots of her sister Kate and Kate's children with Prince William, Prince George and Princess Charlotte.

Lawyers for 33-year-old Middleton and her fiance James Matthews, who did not attend the court hearing in London, had lodged a civil action against a "person or persons unknown" to bar publication.

An emergency ban had been granted on Sept 24 but the new order makes that ruling permanent and widens it to "any other information" that Middleton stored on her iCloud account.

The ruling said the pictures "include photographs of family, friends and places of personal importance".

It said it was "as yet not clear" who had originally gained access to Middleton's account.

The order handed down by judge Philippa Whipple means that anyone who published the photos would be at risk of contempt of court charges, which carry a possible prison sentence.

British tabloid The Sun said it had been asked for £50,000 (S$88,453) for the photographs, after someone contacted the newspaper via the encrypted messaging service WhatsApp.

The ruling said it was "as yet not clear" who had originally gained access to Middleton's account.

Police arrested a 35-year-old man on Saturday on suspicion of an offence under the Computer Misuse Act and he was bailed until November.