British tabloid loses appeal in privacy case – The Hollywood Reporter – .

British tabloid loses appeal in privacy case – The Hollywood Reporter – .

The Duchess of Sussex on Thursday won the latest leg in her long-running privacy lawsuit against a UK newspaper editor for publishing parts of a letter she wrote to her ex-father.

The London Court of Appeal upheld a High Court ruling in February that the publisher of Sunday mail and the MailOnline website illegally violated the privacy of former Meghan Markle by reproducing the handwritten letter she wrote to her father, Thomas Markle, after her marriage to Prince Harry in 2018.

Associated Newspapers challenged the ruling in the Court of Appeal, which held a hearing last month. Dismissing the appeal, Senior Judge Geoffrey Vos told the court on Thursday that “the Duchess had a reasonable expectation of confidentiality in the contents of the letter. These contents were personal, private and not of legitimate public interest.

In a statement, Meghan, 40, condemned the publisher for treating the trial as’ a game without rules’ and said the decision was’ a victory not only for me but for anyone who has ever been afraid to stand up for what is right. “

“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 the pain they create,” she said. .

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

They said correspondence between Meghan and her then communications secretary Jason Knauf showed the Duchess suspected her father might leak the letter to reporters and wrote it with that in mind.

The publisher also argued that publication of the letter was part of Thomas Markle’s right of reply following a People magazine interview with five of Meghan’s friends, claiming he was ‘sorely cold’ on his daughter’s shoulders as her royal wedding approached.

But Vos said that the article, that the Mail on Sunday described as ‘sensational’, was ‘touted as yet another public revelation’ rather than focusing on Thomas Markle’s response to negative media reports about him.

In their appeal, Associated Newspapers also argued that Meghan had made private information public by cooperating with Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand, authors of Find freedom, a nice book about her and Harry.

Lawyers for the Duchess had previously denied that she or Harry collaborated with the perpetrators. But Knauf told the court he gave the writers information and discussed it with Harry and Meghan.

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

In response, Meghan apologized for misleading the court about the extent of her cooperation with the authors of the book.

The Duchess said she did not recall the discussions with Knauf when she testified earlier in the case and apologized “for the fact that I did not remember those exchanges at the time”.

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

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

Meghan and Harry announced in early 2020 that they were stepping down from royal duties and moving to North America, citing what they said were the unbearable intrusions and racist attitudes of the British media. They settled in Santa Barbara, California with their two young children.

In her statement Thursday, Meghan said she had been the subject of “deception, intimidation and calculated attacks” in the three years since the start of the trial.

“The longer they hung around, the more they could distort the facts and manipulate the audience (even during the call itself), making a simple case extraordinarily convoluted in order to generate more headlines and sell more newspapers – a model that rewards.” chaos above the truth, ”she said.

Associated Newspapers had argued that the case should be tried on Meghan’s claims against the publisher. This outcome would have been problematic for the British monarchy, which has long avoided exposing disputes to the public eye.

Lawyer Mark Stephens, who specializes in media law and is unrelated to the case, said he believed the publisher would appeal. It would be unusual for the UK Supreme Court to take such a case, but he said the publisher could take it to the European Court of Human Rights.

“There is a question of principle here, which is whether this case should be concluded before a trial without disclosure, without testing the evidence,” Stephens said. The ruling did not settle whether the letter to Thomas Markle was “still intended for the part of Meghan to be published and disclosed and used as a background document,” he added.

Associated Newspapers “are entitled to this lawsuit, and I think it will only prolong Meghan Markle’s pain,” Stephens said.


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