On Tuesday 20 September 2011, the 17th chamber of the Tribunal de Grande Instance in Paris heard Max Mosley’s criminal complaint against the “News of the World” and Neville Thurlbeck in respect of the publication of private information about him in notorious articles in March 2008.   There was a report of the hearing in the “Guardian” and also in the French press, for example, L’Express.   The claim is based on the sale of 1,300 copies of the “News of the World” in France and the distribution of about 3,000 copies in total.  Mr Mosley is reported to be seeking damages and interest of €100,000 from the French court.

Mr Mosley’s lawyer, Philippe Ouakrat (pictured),  told the court that Mr Thurlbeck was a member of the Anglo-Saxon “gutter press”.   In contrast, Jean-Frédéric Gaultier for the defendants described the English tabloids as the real “watchdogs of English democracy,”and argued that the trial was “unfair and inappropriate.”

The prosecutor, Alexandre Aubert stigmatized the defendants’ journalistic practices as “more ‘trashy’ than the sexual practices disclosed,” but recommended the acquittal of Mr Thurlbeck as a matter of law.  However, “a substantial penalty” commensurate with its assets, was sought against News Group Newspapers.  Judgment was reserved and the decision will be given on 25 October 2011.

Me Ouakrat gave a short interview outside court which can be seen here.