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Court dismisses appeal by Mail on Sunday publisher over Meghan’s letter to her father

Court dismisses appeal by Mail on Sunday publisher over Meghan’s letter to her father
02.12.2021
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The Duchess of Sussex says a “precedent” had been set after the publisher of The Mail on Sunday was denied its request for a trial over claims it breached her copyright and privacy.

It follows the publication of excerpts of a letter written by Meghan to her father.

Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL) was trying to overturn a decision, made by a High Court judge earlier this year, not to go to trial.

Today, the Court of Appeal said it is “hard to see what evidence could have been adduced at trial that would have altered the situation”.

The duchess said: “This is a victory not just for me, but for anyone who has ever felt scared to stand up for what’s right.

“While this win is precedent-setting, what matters most is that we are now collectively brave enough to reshape a tabloid industry that conditions people to be cruel, and profits from the lies and pain that they create.”

Meghan added in a statement that from “day one” she had treated the lawsuit as an “important measure of right versus wrong”.

The defendant, she claimed, “treated it as a game with no rules”.

She went on: “The longer they dragged it out, the more they could twist facts and manipulate the public (even during the appeal itself), making a straightforward case extraordinarily convoluted in order to generate more headlines and sell more newspapers – a model that rewards chaos above truth.

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

Seeking to widen the argument, Meghan said: “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.”

Meghan, 40, sued ANL over five articles which reproduced parts of a letter she sent to her father, Thomas Markle, in August 2018.

The duchess won her case earlier this year when a High Court judge ruled in her favour without a full trial – on the basis that ANL’s publication of the letter was unlawful.

But ANL appealed and argued during a three-day hearing last month that the case should go to trial on Meghan’s claims – including breach of privacy and copyright.

The publisher today said it was “very disappointed” by the ruling – and said it is considering appealing to the Supreme Court.

Last month, the court was told the duchess’s letter was “written with public consumption in mind as a possibility”.

Jason Knauf, who was Prince Harry and Meghan’s media adviser until March 2019, said “the duchess indicated in messages to me that she recognised that it was possible that Mr Markle would make the letter public”.

 

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