Editor suspended over Kate pictures

The editor of the Irish Daily Star Michael O'Kane was last night suspended over his decision to publish topless photos of the Duchess of Cambridge.

The newspaper is co-owned by media baron Richard Desmond's Northern and Shell group and the Irish-based Independent News and Media. On Saturday, Desmond vowed to close the joint venture company.

In a statement, Independent Star said: "Independent Star Limited has suspended editor Michael O'Kane with immediate effect, pending an investigation into the circumstances that led to the Irish Daily Star re-publishing pages from the French magazine 'Closer', which contained images of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

"Independent Star Limited has no further comment pending conclusion of the joint investigation by the newspaper's shareholders."

O'Kane's suspension was announced just hours after Ireland's Justice Minister Alan Shatter said he was reviving abandoned privacy laws on the back of the scandal.

Shattter said: "It is clear that some sections of the print media are either unable or unwilling in their reportage to distinguish between prurient interest and the public interes."

Privacy legislation was proposed several years ago in Ireland and subsequently abandoned.

The Irish Daily Star has been completely independent of its UK counterpart for the last 11 years. It employs up to 120 permanent and freelance stagg and is a profitable operation with a circulation of around 70,000.

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