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Editor suspended over Kate nude snaps

Prince William and Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge visit Tuvanipupu Island

The editor of the Irish Daily Star has been suspended pending an investigation into the publication of topless photographs of the Duchess of Cambridge.

Monday, 17 September 2012
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The publication's Dublin-based co-owners Independent News and Media confirmed on Monday night the suspension of Michael O'Kane.

The announcement was made just hours after Ireland's Justice Minister Alan Shatter said he was reviving abandoned privacy laws on the back of the scandal.

The controversial pictures appeared under the headline "Angry Kate to sue over mag snaps" in the paper on Saturday, but were not carried by the Northern Ireland edition.

Earlier a threat to close the Irish Daily Star after it printed the topless photos was branded "over the top" by the National Union of Journalists.

On Saturday co-owner Richard Desmond condemned the paper's decision to publish the photographs and said he will be taking immediate steps towards closing it down.

"I am very angry at the decision to publish these photographs and am taking immediate steps to close down the joint venture," said Mr Desmond, chairman of publisher Northern and Shell, which co-owns the tabloid with Independent News and Media.

"The decision to publish these pictures has no justification whatever and Northern and Shell condemns it in the strongest possible terms," he added.

A spokesman for Independent News and Media also described the publication of the pictures as "regrettable and in poor taste".

However general of the journalists union, Michelle Stanistreet, said closing down the Irish Daily Star would be "callous", uncalled for, and could put upwards of 70 people out of work.

"This is an over the top reaction which should be reconsidered calmly and with consideration of the full implications for Irish journalism and for editorial diversity," she said.

"There is no justification for putting the livelihood of workers at the Irish Daily Star in jeopardy because of disagreement over an editorial decision of this nature.

"It is a callous and crude attempt by Northern and Shell to protect their UK commercial interests with no regard for the livelihood of 70 Irish workers".

The photographs of the Royal couple were taken during their holiday in the south of France.

They were originally published in French magazine Closer, prompting the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to launch legal action for breach of privacy.

Chi, an Italian gossip magazine, has also published a 26-page spread with the topless photos featuring Kate.

A French court will decide on Tuesday whether to halt further publication of the photos.

The civil case, which was brought to seek damages and an injunction preventing further publication of the images which featured in Closer, was launched in Paris.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are continuing their Diamond Jubilee tour of south-east Asia and the South Pacific.