Wednesday, 29 July 2020

Meghan Markle compromised privacy of five friends in legal document, court hears

Meghan Markle compromised privacy of five friends in legal document, court hearsThe Duchess of Sussex was accused of compromising the privacy of her own friends by supplying their names in a legal document that she wants to remain secret, the High Court heard on Wednesday. The duchess "freely" and "without being compelled" disclosed the identities of five friends whose privacy she now fears will be breached. Meghan gave the names in a confidential document to Associated Newspapers, the publisher of The Mail on Sunday, who she is suing for breach of privacy and copyright over its publication of a handwritten letter to her father, Thomas Markle. In legal submissions, the duchess has warned that being forced to identify the friends "is an unacceptable price to pay" in pursuit of her legal claim. She is arguing that naming them would breach their privacy under the European Convention on Human Rights, while the newspaper argues that they must be disclosed as a key principle of "open justice". At one stage in Wednesday's court proceedings, Meghan's barrister accidentally let slip the surname of one of the friends his client is seeking to keep anonymous. Mr Justice Warby, the judge, suggested such an error was "bound to happen" before immediately ordering that the name should not be reported. It also emerged that only one of the friends – Friend B, an American citizen who says she approached People magazine of her own accord – has given a witness statement. A barrister for the newspaper group said the statement "has been shown to be unsatisfactory", but did not go into any further detail. It was disclosed that the duchess agreed to pay in full £67,888 in costs to Associated Newspapers after the publisher successfully argued that elements of her case be struck out. The costs are just a fraction of a multi-million legal bill expected should the case go to a full trial next year.




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