(LONDON) — Pippa Middleton, the sister-in-law of England’s presumptive future king, could face criminal charges after a male companion was reportedly caught brandishing a gun and allegedly pointing it at a photographer following the pair in Paris.
Middleton, 27, was in the passenger seat of an Audi convertible with three male friends Sunday when the driver allegedly reached for a semi-automatic gun and jokingly aimed it at a paparazzi following them, London newspaper The Sun reported.
The image, released to the Sun by the French photographer at whom the pistol was aimed, shows Middleton, the younger sister of the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, looking back at the paparazzo and grinning as her friend, the driver, reaches down and aims the gun.
The paper reported that the Paris Judicial Police department is “poised” to launch a probe into the incident. Charges could result in prison sentences of up to seven years for all four people in the car, or a two-year sentence if the gun turns out to be a fake, a source told the Sun.
“If the evidence points to her involvement, she will be prosecuted. Anybody involved in the illegal use of a handgun in public is liable to arrest and interrogation,” the source said.
The French photographer is still weighing whether to file a formal police complaint, the Sun’s royal editor, Duncan Larcombe, confirmed Monday on ABC’s Good Morning America.
“We’re told he isn’t ruling anything out yet,” Larcombe said.
Middleton was reportedly in Paris to attend a costume birthday party at the Chez Raspoutine as a guest of fashion label owner Arthur de Soultrait Pari.
The gaffe is a rare misstep for Middleton, who was dubbed “Her Royal Hotness” and became a target of paparazzi after she wowed onlookers as a bridesmaid at her sister’s wedding to Prince William last April.
Buckingham Palace, which does not officially represent Middleton because she is not a member of the royal family, has not commented on the incident.
“I think often by what they’re not saying can often say more and I think there are some very nervous people behind the scenes right now,” Larcombe said.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Paul Cruickshank and Michael Pearson, CNN