Court ruling sought by Meghan Markle on ‘serious breach’ of privacy

Meghan Markle Law Insider In

Sreya Kanugula

The advocate representing the Duchess of Sussex asked a British judge to provide a settlement for her newspaper lawsuit before the case went to trial.

They asked for a ruling on the grounds of “a plain and a serious breach of her rights of privacy” since the publication made in the said newspaper was of a “deeply personal” letter written by the Duchess to her estranged father.

Her latest attempt in protecting her privacy bore more details out on her relationship with her father, Thomas Markle who had claimed that he was being “vilified” by the press as deceitful and a publicity and attention-seeker.

The 39-year-old former actress had filed a lawsuit against Associated Newspapers for breaching her right of privacy and for infringing copyright on 5 articles published in the Mail during the month of February in 2019.

The articles contained portions of her handwritten letter sent to Mr. Markle, her father right after she married Prince Harry in 2018 and they had been published on the MailOnline website as well.

The claim is being contested by the Associated Newspapers and a complete trial is due to be scheduled in the fall at the High Court, considering the case to be one among London’s most high-profile showdowns in civil court for the past few years.

The duchess sought for a summary judgment in her favor and that would dismiss the defense created by the newspapers. Her advocate, Mr. Justin Rushbrooke, made the argument that the publisher didn’t have any real prospects needed to win the case.

“At its heart, it’s a very straightforward case about the unlawful publication of a private letter,” he stated at the beginning of the 2-day hearing, which was held remotely due to the pandemic’s restrictions.

Meghan’s advocates stated that Mr. Markle who’s a retired TV cinematographer caused some anguish to both Meghan and Harry right before their wedding in May 2018.

He did so by appearing for press-run interviews and after he posed for a couple of paparazzi taken shots of the wedding-preparation. He was unable to make it to the wedding due to having a heart attack by the end.

Mr. Rushbrooke said that the letter sent by the duchess in the August of 2018 was sent in peace as a message to get Mr. Markle to stop talking and giving any further information to the media.

He also stated that Meghan had taken steps to make sure that letter would under no circumstance be intercepting by sending it to her father’s Mexico residence through FedEx with the help of her accountant.

The 5-paged letter implored Mr. Markle to stop talking to the press with Meghan stating that his action had broken her heart into a million pieces.

The last sentences of the letter as read out loud in the court were: “I ask for nothing other than peace. And I wish the same for you.”

The advocate continued to make the argument on the duchesses’ behalf that just because she was a public figure that didn’t reduce her expectation of rights to privacy with regards to information such as this. Mr. Rushbrooke also added that “the sad intricacies of a family relationship..”.was not a public interest subject.

Lawyers on the behalf of the Associated Newspapers made the argument that Meghan had written the letter in question with the antecedent knowledge that it would get published at some point.

They stated that it came into the realm of the public since some of the duchesses’ friends had described the letter anonymously in interviews given under the People magazine.

Mr. Markles said that he had allowed the Mail to publish certain portions in the letter to“set the record straight” after he had read the People magazine article.

As per a submission made by the defense in the form of a written witness statement, he had stated that the People article had misappropriated the letter’s contents and his reply and they had vilified him by making him out as “dishonest, exploitative, publicity-seeking, uncaring and cold-hearted, leaving a loyal and dutiful daughter devastated.”

He stated that he had given them the letter’s portions as a defense of himself against such an attack on his character.

Mr. Markle further added that the letter hadn’t been a reconciliation attempt but criticism of him. It hadn’t stated that Meghan loved him or enquire about his well-being or his health despite his sufferance of a heart attack.

According to him, it was a signal to seal the end of their relationship rather than a chance for reconciliation.

In October 2020, judge Warby had agreed to the duchesses’ request for a postponement of the trial, which had been scheduled to begin that month to a date in the month of October/November in 2021.

He had stated that the reason behind the delay was to remain a secret.

Meghan Markle, the former American actress had married Prince Harry, one of Queen Elizabeth II’s grandsons, in a lavish wedding ceremony at the location of the Windsor Castle in the month of May in 2018.

The couple’s son, Archie was born in the following year 2019.

In 2020, Meghan and Harry had made the announcement that they were resigning their royal duties and shifting to North America, crediting the unbearable intrusive and extremely racists attitudes portrayed by the British media.

They had also bought a residential property in Santa Barbara recently in the state of California.

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