July 14, 2024

Pathfinder News

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Meghan Wins Privacy Right Fight Against Newspaper

The Duchess of Sussex has won her legal fight against the publisher of the Mail on Sunday over a letter she sent to her father. The Court of Appeal rejected Associated Newspapers’ attempt to have a trial in the privacy and copyright case. A judge had previously ruled in favour of Meghan after extracts from the letter appeared in the paper.

Meghan said it was a win “not just for me, but for anyone who has ever felt scared to stand up for what’s right”.

In a statement, the duchess said: “In the nearly three years since this began, I have been patient in the face of deception, intimidation and calculated attacks.”

She added: “The courts have held the defendant to account and my hope is that we all begin to do the same. Because as far removed as it may seem from your personal life, it’s not. Tomorrow it could be you. These harmful practices don’t happen once in a blue moon, they are a daily fail that divide us and we all deserve better.”

The Court of Appeal accepted Meghan’s argument that the letter to Thomas Markle in August 2018 was “deeply personal”. The judges were told that 585 out of the letter’s 1,250 words had been republished in the five articles in question.

In their decision, the three judges said the letter’s contents were “personal, private and not matters of legitimate public interest”.

The High Court in February found the issues in the case were so clear cut that there was no need for a full hearing.

And on Thursday, judges at the appeal said it was hard to see what evidence at a trial would have altered the situation.

They added: “The judge had correctly decided that, whilst it might have been proportionate to publish a very small part of the letter for that purpose, it was not necessary to publish half the contents of the letter.”

At a three-day hearing in November, lawyers for Associated Newspapers argued that Meghan’s claims against the publisher for breach of privacy and copyright should be heard at a full trial.

During the case, it was revealed that Meghan had authorised her former communications secretary, Jason Knauf, to co-operate with the authors of a book about her and Prince Harry, something she had previously denied.

They also produced a witness statement from Mr Knauf, which indicated that the duchess had written the letter knowing it might be leaked.

Mr Knauf said Meghan sent him an early draft of the letter and had written: “Obviously everything I have drafted is with the understanding that it could be leaked so I have been meticulous in my word choice, but please do let me know if anything stands out for you as a liability.”

But in written evidence, Meghan denied she thought it likely that her father would leak the letter, saying she “merely recognised that this was a possibility”.