MEGHAN Markle won today his offer to delay his privacy battle for nearly a year on a “confidential” matter – despite her father’s warning “I could die tomorrow”.
The Duchess of Sussex is suing Associated Newspapers, the publisher of The Mail on Sunday, for publishing a letter she wrote to her former father Thomas Markle.
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A ten-day trial was due to take place in London on January 11 next year, with the 39-year-old likely to testify in the witness stand.
But a private hearing was held at the High Court this morning before the judge agreed to delay the trial – despite his father Thomas Markle’s warning that he “could die tomorrow”.
Justice Warby said today he considered the request, made behind closed doors, and granted the delay until the fall of next year – adding that the “main basis” on which the adjournment was requested was “confidential”.
He said: “The right decision in all the circumstances is to grant the adjournment request.
“This means that the trial date of January 11, 2021 will be set aside and the trial will be rescheduled for a new date in the fall. “
It was revealed today that:
- Meghan Markle’s battle for privacy will not go to trial in January and has been postponed until fall next year
- Justice Warby said the “main basis” on which the adjournment was requested was “confidential”
- Hearing held behind closed doors before judge revealed decision
- His lawyers’ request to appeal the judge’s decision to allow the Mail on Sunday to use Finding Freedom in their defense has been denied
- Meghan was allowed to seek summary judgment in January
- Thomas Markle said he could ‘die tomorrow’ begging the court to reject Meghan’s offer to delay the trial
- The 39-year-old father, estranged from his father, said he was anxious about the case but vowed to tell the truth
The decision comes after Thomas, 76, said he wanted the trial to proceed “as quickly as possible” because of his fragile health – and that he planned to travel to London for the showdown at the High Court.
In a court statement, the father said neither of his male relatives had ever lived beyond 80, saying, “I am a realist and I could die tomorrow. The sooner this case unfolds, the better. ”
The “elderly and sick” man, who currently lives in Mexico, also detailed his health problems, including the difficulty in taking 40 steps without running out of steam.
Meghan’s lawyers had also asked to appeal the decision of the judge who saw the explosive biography Finding Freedom included by the defense in the trial.
However, Justice Warby today denied the claim.
The Mail on Sunday had been allowed to change its defense that the Sussexes were “cooperating” with the authors of the biography.
Jane Phillips, representing Meghan, told Judge Warby: “The new case should not have been cleared.
She said: “It was speculative, it was not supported by evidence and it was inherently implausible and, we say most importantly, it was wrong in law. ”
She added that the new case was “not just a stab in the dark, but it was a stab in the dark in the wrong room.”
Thomas Markle statement
This matter is causing me anxiety and I want to get it over with as quickly as possible.
I am 76 years old and due to my heart disease and surgery I take blood thinners which have affected my breathing. I am unable to walk far or climb many stairs.
I can’t take more than 30-40 steps without feeling short of breath and needing to slow down until I catch my breath.
I had a cold for 3-4 years which is linked to my heart and lung problems.
I am clinically obese and gained more weight in the last few months before I could leave my home to exercise. I am pre-diabetic.
I don’t know what the job will be in several months. I did not return to Chula Vista hospital and although I see a local doctor and am willing to see a doctor to have my heart and lungs checked, I do not want to know if I now have cancer or other serious conditions.
None of my male parents have ever lived over 80.
I am a realist and I could die tomorrow. The sooner this case unfolds, the better.
The evils of Thomas Markle:
- Clinically obese
- A cold for three to four years
- Cardiac problem
- On blood thinners due to surgery
- Worried about having cancer
Finding Freedom, written by Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand, is indicative of the Sussexes’ experience when they stepped down as royals in what has become Megxit.
Meghan had lost a court battle last month to block allegations that she had cooperated with the perpetrators.
She was accused of providing personal information to the authors of the biography in order to “present her own side of events in a manner that is favorable to her”.
Legal experts today speculated that the Duchess may be hoping to avoid testifying during the trial, thus avoiding cross-examination.
But a source close to the Duchess said they believed they had “an extremely strong case”.
The source said: “We don’t think the defense case has a chance to succeed, and we don’t think there is a compelling reason to judge.
“We are confident in our case and therefore believe that it should be determined on a summary basis.”
What is summary judgment?
The court may render summary judgment against a plaintiff or defendant on the whole of a claim or on a particular matter if it is agreed that:
- The claimant has no real chance of succeeding in their claim
- The defendant has no real chance of successfully defending the claim
- There is another compelling reason why the case or question should be decided at trial
Meghan’s team have also filed for summary judgment, arguing that there is no compelling reason for a trial.
However, the decision to authorize the summary judgment decision will not be made today as it was only filed by Meghan’s lawyers four working days ago.
Instead, his legal team will be arguing for the judgment in January next year – when the original trial was supposed to be held.
If successful, summary judgment would mean that no trial would take place.
The Duchess seeks damages from The Mail on Sunday for alleged misuse of private information, violation of data protection law and violation of copyright on five articles published in February 2019 which included excerpts from the “private and confidential” letter to his father.
Publisher Associated Newspapers claimed Prince Harry’s wife herself disclosed the details of the letter to media through friends.
The editor argued that Meghan was “happy” when five friends spoke out to defend her in an interview with People Magazine, which mentioned the letter.
And last month, the publisher sought permission to amend its defense to claim Meghan “has cooperated with the authors of the recently published book Finding Freedom to publish their version of certain events.”
Anthony White QC, for MoS, said: “[Meghan] has allowed information about his private and family life, including his relationship and communications with his father and the letter, as well as the private and family lives of others, to enter the public domain through the book.
Prince Harry’s wife has also been asked to pay £ 39,000 in fees in addition to legal fees estimated at £ 140,000, totaling £ 179,000.
Meghan’s lawyers have staunchly denied collaborating with the authors – even calling the Finding Freedom stories “extremely innocuous, the product of creative licensing and / or inaccurate” in an attempt to keep her away from her.
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Author Omid Scobie claimed in his witness statement that it was “wrong” to suggest that Harry or Meghan collaborated on Finding Freedom.
Meghan, who currently lives in the United States with Prince Harry and their one-year-old son Archie, is suing ANL for five articles in total, two in MoS and three on MailOnline, which were published in February 2019 and in have reproduced parts. of a handwritten letter she sent to her father in August 2018.
ANL totally denies the allegations, especially the Duchess’s claim that the letter was altered in any way that changed its meaning, and says she will strongly contest the case.