Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle has won her invasion of privacy suit against the Mail on Sunday and Associated Newspapers.
The outlet published a letter written by Markle to her estranged father Thomas Markle. The “Suits” alum argued that publishing the letter was an invasion of her privacy and the court agreed. Judge Mark Warby ruled that the Duchess “had a reasonable expectation that the contents of the Letter would remain private” in court documents obtained by ET Canada.
“The only tenable justification for any such interference was to correct some inaccuracies about the Letter contained in the People Article. On an objective review of the Articles in the light of the surrounding circumstances, the inescapable conclusion is that, save to a very limited extent, the disclosures made were not a necessary or proportionate means of serving that purpose,” he added.
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#Breaking The Duchess of Sussex has won her High Court privacy claim against the Mail on Sunday over the publication of a “personal and private” handwritten letter to her estranged father, Thomas Markle.
— PA Royal Reporters (@PARoyal) February 11, 2021
“For the most part they did not serve that purpose at all,” Warby explained. “Taken as a whole the disclosures were manifestly excessive and hence unlawful… The interference with freedom of expression which those conclusions represent is a necessary and proportionate means of pursuing the legitimate aim of protecting the claimant’s privacy.”
The Duchess of Sussex released a statement to ET Canada on the court ruling.
“After two long years of pursuing litigation, I am grateful to the courts for holding Associated Newspapers and The Mail on Sunday to account for their illegal and dehumanizing practices. These tactics (and those of their sister publications MailOnline and the Daily Mail) are not new; in fact, they’ve been going on for far too long without consequence. For these outlets, it’s a game. For me and so many others, it’s real life, real relationships, and very real sadness. The damage they have done and continue to do runs deep.
“The world needs reliable, fact-checked, high-quality news. What The Mail on Sunday and its partner publications do is the opposite,” she continued. “We all lose when misinformation sells more than truth, when moral exploitation sells more than decency, and when companies create their business model to profit from people’s pain. But for today, with this comprehensive win on both privacy and copyright, we have all won. We now know, and hope it creates legal precedent, that you cannot take somebody’s privacy and exploit it in a privacy case, as the defendant has blatantly done over the past two years.”
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“I share this victory with each of you—because we all deserve justice and truth, and we all deserve better,” Markle concluded. “I particularly want to thank my husband, mom, and legal team, and especially Jenny Afia for her unrelenting support throughout this process.”
The hearing took place Jan. 19-20 and the court entered summary judgment in her favour on her claims for misuse of private information and copyright infringement.
“There will be summary judgment for the claimant on the claim for misuse of private information, and on the other issues in the copyright claim,” the document details. “A hearing to decide matters consequential on this judgment, and directions for the next steps is fixed for March 2.”