Publisher loses appeal in Meghan battle over privacy

Meghan Markle has hit out at the publisher of The Mail on Sunday after it lost an appeal against her privacy victory over a handwritten letter to her estranged father.

Meghan (40), sued Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL), also the publisher of MailOnline, over five articles that reproduced parts of a “personal and private” letter to Thomas Markle (77) in August 2018.

She won her case earlier this year when a High Court judge ruled in her favour without a full trial.

ANL brought an appeal against that decision and, at a three-day hearing last month, argued the case should go to a trial on Meghan’s claims against the publisher – including breach of privacy and copyright.

However, the appeal was dismissed by Court of Appeal judges in a ruling yesterday.

In a statement after the judgment was made public, Meghan accused ANL of treating the court case as  a “game with no rules”.

She 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.

“From day one I have treated this lawsuit as an important measure of right versus wrong. The defendant has treated it as a game with no rules.

“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.

“Today, the courts ruled in my favour – again – cementing that The Mail on Sunday, owned by Lord Jonathan Rothermere, has broken the law.”

Lawyers representing the publisher said at the earlier hearing that Mr Markle wished to counter points made by friends of Meghan who had given an interview to People magazine in the US.

Andrew Caldecott QC, for the publisher, told the court the article accused Mr Markle of having “cold-shouldered” his daughter in the run-up to her wedding to Prince Harry and of having lied about her shutting him out.

The barrister also said the article implied Mr Markle had given a “cynical and self-interested response” and ignored her pleas for reconciliation in a “loving letter” – all while Meghan remained “dutiful” and supportive of him.

Dismissing the publisher’s appeal, Judge Geoffrey Vos said: “It was hard to see what evidence could have been adduced at trial that would have altered the situation.

He upheld the High Court’s decision that the duchess had a “reasonable expectation of privacy” in the contents of the letter.

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