The publisher of The Mail On Sunday has lost an appeal to overturn an initial judgment ruled in favour of Meghan Markle over the publication of a personal letter to her estranged father, Thomas Markle.
The Duchess of Sussex, 40, had in August 2018 sued the Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL), also the publisher of MailOnline, over five articles that reproduced parts of a “personal and private” letter to her father, winning an initial court injunction.
The judge ruled in February that the publication of Meghan’s letter to her father was “manifestly excessive and hence unlawful.”
However, ANL challenged the judgment and pushed for a trial to take place.
On Thursday, the three-person panel — Geoffrey Vos, Victoria Sharp and Justice Bean — dismissed the appeal by ANL.
“It was hard to see what evidence could have been adduced at trial that would have altered the situation,” Mr Geoffrey said while reading the ruling.
“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.”
Reacting to the judgement, Ms Markle said the victory was “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,” local media reported her saying.
“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 favor – again – cementing that The Mail on Sunday, owned by Lord Jonathan Rothermere, has broken the law. 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.”
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