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Tuesday, October 4, 2022

British court upholds Meghan Markle in privacy dispute with tabloid publisher

Sylvia Hui and JILL LAWLES | Associated Press

LONDON. On Thursday, the Duchess of Sussex won the final leg of her lengthy lawsuit against a British newspaper publisher for publishing excerpts from a letter she wrote to her estranged father.

The London Court of Appeals in February upheld a High Court ruling that publisher The Mail on Sunday and website MailOnline had illegally breached the privacy of former Meghan Markle by reproducing a handwritten letter she wrote to her father Thomas Markle after she married Prince Harry. in 2018.

The Associated Newspapers appealed the decision to the Court of Appeal, which was heard last month. Rejecting that appeal, Senior Judge Jeffrey Vos told the court on Thursday that “the Duchess had a good faith in the confidentiality of the contents of the letter. This content was personal, private and did not represent a legitimate public interest. “

In a statement, 40-year-old Meghan denounced the publisher for describing the lawsuit as a “game without rules” and said that the decision was “a victory not only for me, but for everyone who has ever been afraid to defend this. , what is right. … “

“Most importantly, we are now collectively brave enough to change the tabloid industry that makes people violent and capitalize on the lies and pain they create,” she said.

Associated Newspapers published about half of the letter in five articles in August 2018. Their lawyers disputed Meghan’s claim that she did not want the letter to be seen by anyone other than her father.

They said the correspondence between Meghan and her then-secretary of public affairs, Jason Knauf, revealed that the Duchess suspected her father might turn over the letter to reporters and wrote it with that in mind.

The publisher also claimed that publishing the letter was part of Thomas Markle’s right to reply, following an interview with People magazine with five of Meghan’s friends claiming that he “treated his daughter in a brutal manner ahead of her royal wedding.”

But Vos said the article, which the Mail on Sunday described as “sensational,” was “presented as a new public disclosure,” rather than focusing on Thomas Markle’s reaction to negative media reports about him.

The Associated Newspapers also argued in their appeal that Meghan had released personal information while collaborating with Omid Scobie and Caroline Durand, authors of a compassionate book about her and Harry, In Search of Freedom.

The Duchess’s lawyers have previously denied that she or Harry collaborated with the authors. But Knauf said in court that he provided the authors with information and discussed it with Harry and Meghan.

Knauf’s evidence, which was previously undisclosed, marked a dramatic turn in the long-running case.

In response, Megan apologized for misleading the court about the extent of her collaboration with the book’s authors.

The Duchess said that she did not remember conversations with Knauf when she testified earlier in the case, and apologized “for not remembering these conversations at the time.”

“I had absolutely no desire or intention to mislead the accused or the court,” she said.

Meghan, the former star of the American television legal drama Suits, married Harry, the grandson of Queen Elizabeth II, at Windsor Castle in May 2018.

In early 2020, Meghan and Harry announced that they were leaving royal duties and moving to North America, citing what they said was an intolerable invasion and racist attitude from the British media. They settled in Santa Barbara, California with two young children.

In a statement on Thursday, Meghan said she had been subjected to “trickery, intimidation and deliberate attacks” within three years of the start of the trial.

“The longer they pulled, the more they could distort the facts and manipulate the public (even during the appeal itself), making the simple case extremely confusing to generate more headlines and sell more newspapers – a model that rewards chaos above the truth,” she said.

Associated Newspapers argued that the case should go to court in Megan’s claims against the publisher. Such an outcome would be problematic for the British monarchy, which for a long time avoided public discussion of disputes.

World Nation News Desk
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