Tuesday January 18, 2022

Meghan Markle gains major legal win over privacy breach in Thomas Markle letter

Meghan Markle had sued a publication after it had revealed parts of a private letter in their articles

By Web Desk
December 02, 2021
Meghan Markle gains major legal win over privacy breach in Thomas Markle letter

Meghan Markle won a major legal battle with The Mail On Sunday over a private letter she wrote to her estranged father.

A High Court judge ruled in the Duchess of Sussex’s favour after she had sued Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL) for five articles that unveiled parts of a "personal and private" letter to her estranged father Thomas Markle.

Initially the judge ruled in her favour without a full trial but ANL sought an appeal and argued that the case should go on trial on Meghan’s claims over privacy breach and copyright.

But three judges announced their decision to dismiss the appeal.

While giving a summary of the decision judge Sir Geoffrey Vos said: "The Court of Appeal upheld the judge's decision that the duchess had a reasonable expectation of privacy in the contents of the letter.

"Those contents were personal, private and not matters of legitimate public interest.

"The articles in the Mail on Sunday interfered with the duchess' reasonable expectation of privacy and were not a justified or proportionate means of correcting inaccuracies about the letter."

"It was hard to see what evidence could have been adduced at trial that would have altered the situation.

"The judge had been in as good a position as any trial judge to look at the article in People magazine, the letter and The Mail On Sunday articles to decide if publication of the contents of the letter was appropriate to rebut the allegations against Mr Markle.

"The judge had correctly decided that, whilst it might have been proportionate to publish a very small part of the letter for that purpose, it was not necessary to publish half the contents of the letter as ANL had done."

Meghan's statement

Responding to the ruling, Meghan said in a statement: "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 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."

The duchess's statement continued: "The courts have held the defendant to account and my hope is that we all begin to do the same.

"Because as far removed as it may seem from your personal life, it's not. Tomorrow it could be you.

"These harmful practices don't happen once in a blue moon - they are a daily fail that divide us and we all deserve better."