Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, has won the latest round of a prolonged privacy battle with the publisher of the Mail on Sunday.
A UK court on Thursday dismissed an appeal brought by Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL) against a previous judgment that the duchess had a reasonable expectation of privacy regarding a letter she sent to her father Thomas Markle in August 2018.
Meghan brought the litigation against ANL after the Mail on Sunday reproduced parts of the private letter.
ANL and the Mail on Sunday previously said they stood by the decision to publish excerpts from the handwritten letter and would defend the case vigorously.
The court said in a summary of the judgment on Thursday 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,” said the court. “The articles in the Mail on Sunday interfered with the duchess’s reasonable expectation of privacy.”
Following the judgment, ANL said in a statement that it was “very disappointed” and is considering an appeal to the UK’s Supreme Court.
“It is our strong view that judgment should be given only on the basis of evidence tested at trial, and not on a summary basis in a heavily contested case, before even disclosure of documents,” ANL said.
In a statement Thursday, Meghan celebrated the judgment and outlined her hopes that it would help to change the UK newspaper industry. ANL also publishes the Daily Mail, Britain’s biggest tabloid.
“This is a victory not just for me, but for anyone who has ever felt scared to stand up for what’s right,” reads the statement.
“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.”
The duchess won her privacy claim against ANL in February when the judge ruled “the disclosures were manifestly excessive and hence unlawful,” and that there would be “no prospect that a different judgment would be reached after a trial.”
However, ANL challenged the ruling and pushed for a trial to take place.
In her statement on Thursday, Meghan criticized the publisher for extending the lawsuit and “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,” she said.
“Today, the courts ruled in my favor — again — cementing that The Mail on Sunday, owned by Lord Jonathan Rothermere, has broken the law.”
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