2020/07/31 · Author: · Comments: 00 · Filed under: News

The Duchess of Sussex has lost the first round of her lawsuit against Associated Newspapers, agreeing to pay more than £67,000 in legal costs, it was revealed in court yesterday.

The news was revealed via a written submission from 22 July, in which the Duchess agreed to pay the fees after the High Court’s Mr Justice Warby struck out parts of Meghan’s claim in May, including allegations of ‘deliberately stirring up’ issues between her and her father.

Although the Duchess was not present for proceedings, her lawyers are fighting to prevent the naming of five of her friends, each of which spoke to People magazine about her relationship with her father, Thomas Markle.

Meghan is suing Mail on Sunday and MailOnline over five articles, including the publication of private letters sent to her father after the Royal Wedding in 2018, when he was forced to pull out of attending and walking her down the aisle due to staging photographs of himself for the paparazzi, as well as health issues connected to an operation on his heart. The Duchess is seeking damages from the newspaper for alleged misuse of private information, copyright infringement and breach of the Data Protection Act.

Associated Papers’ lawyers argue that the cooperation of five of Meghan’s friends with People magazine, which revealed details of the private correspondence, negates her suit. ‘Information in the People interview about the claimant’s relationship and dealings with her father, including the existence of the letter and a description of its contents and the claimant’s father’s letter in response, could only have come (directly or indirectly) from the claimant,’ their lawyers said.

The People magazine article included a quote from one source which stated, ‘She’s like ‘Dad, I’m so heartbroken. I love you. I have one father. Please stop victimising me through the media so we can repair our relationship.’

Associated Papers’ lawyer Antony White QC told the court in a written submission, ‘The friends are important potential witnesses on a key issue. Reporting these matters without referring to names would be a heavy curtailment of the media’s and the defendant’s entitlement to report this case and the public’s right to know about it.

‘No friend’s oral evidence could be fully and properly reported because full reporting might identify her, especially as there has already been media speculation as to their identities.’

In a witness statement, Meghan said: ‘Associated Newspapers, the owner of the Daily Mail and the Mail on Sunday, is threatening to publish the names of five women – five private citizens – who made a choice on their own to speak anonymously with a US media outlet more than a year ago, to defend me from the bullying behaviour of Britain’s tabloid media.

‘These five women are not on trial, and nor am I. The publisher of the Mail on Sunday is the one on trial. It is this publisher that acted unlawfully and is attempting to evade accountability; to create a circus and distract from the point of this case – that the Mail on Sunday unlawfully published my private letter.

‘Each of these women is a private citizen, young mother, and each has a basic right to privacy.’

Mr Justice Warby ended the proceedings saying he would inform the Duchess of his decision in writing at a later date, adding that he was ‘not going to make any predictions’ over when that might be.

Source: Tatler

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