New twist in Meghan’s court case

 

Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, has asked a judge find in her favour in a blockbuster court case to avoid the matter going to trial

The former Suits actor-turned-royal is suing British tabloid The Daily Mail over an alleged breach of privacy for publishing parts of a letter she wrote to her estranged father Thomas Markle.

The case was scheduled for a 10-day hearing in January, but the duchess has applied for a summary judgment due to be heard on Thursday night Australian time.

If successful, the case would be decided off papers, rather than in open court. The move would also negate the need for the duchess to give evidence in person.

 

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, who is suing The Daily Mail over an alleged breach of privacy. Picture: AP
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, who is suing The Daily Mail over an alleged breach of privacy. Picture: AP

The Daily Mail's lawyers have vowed to strongly defend the case.

Mr Markle, 76, has already indicated that he was willing to give evidence, potentially leading to ugly tit-for-tat scenes similar to Johnny Depp and Amber Heard's landmark libel case earlier this year in London's High Court. The Duchess of Sussex, 39, now based in California with Prince Harry and their baby Archie Harrison, was expected to return to London if the case did get to court.

The case has centred on a handwritten letter she had sent to her father, who infamously sold photographs to the paparazzi in the lead up to her 2018 wedding to Prince Harry.

He did not walk his daughter down the aisle after suffering a heart attack as the world's media reported on his fake photo shoot.

The letter's existence was first detailed in an article flattering to the Duchess in the US edition of People magazine, where five of her friends spoke.

The headline on the article in the Mail on Sunday, the paper's weekend edition, at the centre of this legal dispute read: "Revealed: The letter showing true tragedy of Meghan's rift with a father she says has 'broken her heart into a million pieces'."

The Times newspaper reported that the Duchess believes her application for a summary judgment was based on an "overwhelmingly strong case."

However, the Duchess had lost two battles in the preliminary hearings.

 

In September, Justice Francesca Kaye ruled against her bid to strike out a defence from the newspaper that the duchess had co-operated with authors Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand, who also published parts of the letter in their sympathetic book Finding Freedom.

And in May, the court ruled that Meghan could not argue that the newspaper had acted "dishonestly" in publishing the contents of the letter.

The case has been brought as a breach of privacy, which is much easier to prove than defamation.

Prince Charles won a privacy suit against the Daily Mail in 2006 when his correspondence was leaked, which included his description of Chinese leaders as "appalling old waxworks."

The Daily Mail denies the allegations, particularly the duchess's claim that the letter was edited in any way that changed its meaning, and says it will hotly contest the case.

stephen.drill@news.co.uk

Originally published as New twist in Meghan's court case


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