Setback for Meghan in privacy claim against Mail on Sunday owner

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Judge rules part of Duchess of Sussex’s case against Associated Newspapers be struck out

The Duchess of Sussex has been dealt a blow in the first stage of her privacy claim against the publishers of the Mail on Sunday after a judge ruled that part of her case should be struck out.

Lawyers for Associated Newspapers had argued last month against elements of her claim, including that some words and sentences from a letter sent to her estranged father, Thomas Markle, had been “dishonestly” cut out before publication in order to paint a misleading picture of the relationship between father and daughter.

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World news | The Guardian

The Duchess of Sussex has been dealt a blow in the first stage of her privacy claim against the publishers of the Mail on Sunday after a judge ruled that part of her case should be struck out.

Lawyers for Associated Newspapers had argued last month against elements of her claim, including that some words and sentences from a letter sent to her estranged father, Thomas Markle, had been “dishonestly” cut out before publication in order to paint a misleading picture of the relationship between the two.

Meghan is suing publisher Associated Newspapers for misuse of private information, breach of data protection and copyright infringement after the Mail on Sunday and Mail Online, which it owns, published contents of the handwritten letter sent to Thomas Markle, 75, in August 2018. Associated Newspapers denies the claims.

Delivering his ruling today, Mr Justice Warby said that some of the allegations are struck out as “irrelevant to the purpose for which they are pleaded” while some are struck out on the further or alternative ground that they are inadequately detailed.

However, he left open the possibility that some aspects of the case that he had struck out “may be revived if they are put in proper form.”

He said: “I have also acted so as to confine the case to what is reasonably necessary and proportionate for the purpose of doing justice between these parties.

“I do not consider that the allegations struck out on that basis go to the ‘heart’ of the case, which at its core concerns the publication of five articles disclosing the words of, and information drawn from, the letter written by the claimant to her father in August 2018.

The action by the Duchess focuses on five articles – two in the Mail on Sunday, and three on Mail Online – reproducing parts of the letters, with the headline on one reading: “Revealed: The letter showing the true tragedy of Meghan’s rift with a father she says has ‘broken her heart into a million pieces’.”


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