Home Royals Meghan Markle wins bid to delay trial against newspaper

Meghan Markle wins bid to delay trial against newspaper

The Duchess of Sussex is suing after 'private and confidential' letter to her father was published

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Meghan Markle has won her bid to delay her trial against the Mail On Sunday.

The Duchess of Sussex is suing the publication for printing a “private and confidential” letter to her estranged father, Thomas Markle.

A ten-day trial was set to take place in London in January next year, but on Wednesday, the former actress applied to have the trial to be adjourned.

Today, judge Mark Warby said: “My conclusion is that the right decision in all the circumstances is to grant the application.”

“That means that the trial date of January 11 2021 will be vacated and the trial will be refixed for a new date in the autumn.”

The news comes after a London court ruled that the Mail On Sunday could amend its case to include details from a recently published royal biography – Finding Freedom.

Jane Phillips, representing Meghan, applied to appeal the judge’s decision for details of the book to be included by the defence in the trial – which was denied.

Making her case, Jane told the court: “The new case ought not to have been allowed.

“It was speculative, it was unsubstantiated by evidence and it was inherently implausible and, we say most importantly, it was bad in law.”

Meghan’s father received the letter in August 2018, months before sections of it were published in the UK Mail on Sunday and on the MailOnline in February, 2019.

In papers seen by the Press Association, Meghan’s solicitors say the handwritten letter was “obviously private correspondence” which detailed her “deepest and most private thoughts and feelings about her relationship with her father.”

They added: “The claimant intended the detailed contents of the letter to be private, and certainly did not expect them to be published to the world at large by a national newspaper, and without any warning.”

Meghan’s legal team have also claimed that the newspaper “chose to deliberately omit or suppress” parts of the letter, which “intentionally distorted or manipulated” its meaning.

An old photo of Meghan and her father Thomas

The Duchess’ lawyers also said that had the letter been published in full, it would have “undermined the defendant’s intended negative characterisation of the claimant”.

The mother-of-one is seeking damages from Associated Newspapers Ltd for alleged misuse of private information, copyright infringement and breach of the Data Protection Act.

Associated Newspapers have denied Meghan’s claims, with the legal battle officially kicking off at the end of April as the first High Court hearing took place via video link – due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Back in August, the Duchess won her application to block the newspaper from publishing the names of her five friends who spoke anonymously to People magazine last year.

Associated Newspapers defended the letter’s publication by suggesting Meghan put it in the public domain by allegedly telling friends about it – who later spoke to the publication.

However, the Duchess has insisted she was unaware that five close friends were planning to speak to People magazine about her strained relationship with Thomas, for an article published in February 2019.

The five friends requested anonymity at the time of their interview, in order to protect their private relationships.