An Edinburgh man has been fined after photographing a woman in the street, according to BBC News Scotland:
A man who took a photograph of an ill woman outside an Edinburgh bar has been fined £100 after being branded "unchivalrous" by a sheriff.
The woman had been drinking with friends in an Omni Centre bar when she felt unwell and went outside for air.
Sebastian Przygodzki took a photograph with his camera, which upset Rebecca Smith and her friends called police.
He was arrested and charged with breach of the peace, and pleaded guilty to the offence at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.
Przygodzki, 28, who moved to Scotland two years ago from Krakow, told police he had spent the day taking photographs of performers at the Edinburgh festival, which was in full swing at the time.
The Omni Centre is surrounded by pavement so it seems certain this photograph was taken in a public place. The Sherrif's statement that 'The lady concerned was entitled to her privacy and not to have a passing stranger take a photograph" has no basis in law or even common sense. Street photography has no obligation to hide what can be seen in plain view just because the subject dislikes how they look, any more than any passer-by has a legal duty to not look at anything happening in public view. People who want privacy in public places should stay indoors or place bags over their heads.
This may have been an 'unchivalrous' act, or impolite or embarassing but questionable manners are not illegal. Defamation has always been a risk of such photographs, but that is a civil matter between photographer and subject, with the essential defence is that they are truthful rather than malicious depictions.
It is hard to see why this became a police matter. Aside from the vast tabloid industry of exposing celebrities in disarray, TV is awash with programs depicting people in frequently unflatteringly tired and emotional states in city centres across Britain, often filmed by the police and aired with the intent of humiliating the subjects and deterring drinking. We wonder if the Sheriff or the subject of the photograph would consider such programmes or even CCTV to similarly be an unchivalrous breach of privacy.
Indeed, any photograph that causes embarassment or is less than flattering or just plain annoying to the subject could be considered to 'cause fear and alarm' and comprise a breach of the peace. In Edinburgh at least, it seems it is. It is regrettable that Przygodzki plead guilty, as it seems certain he had committed no offence except that of annoying Rebecca Smith and the Sherrif.