Sunday, 5 Feb 2023

Prince Harry to ask judge to rule in his favour without trial

Prince Harry’s claims in Spare are ‘so backward’ says Clarke

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Prince Harry is set to ask a High Court judge to rule in his favour without a trial in a libel case against the Mail on Sunday, according to the Telegraph. The prince will apply for a strike out or summary judgment at a hearing due to be scheduled in the next two months after both sides failed to reach a settlement.

Legal proceedings were temporarily paused last month to enable both sides to negotiate, however they could not reach an agreement before the deadline.

He sued Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL) over an article published last February that said he had tried to keep parts of his legal fight with the Home Office “secret” after a dispute over his security provision in the UK.

The Duke claimed the publication attempted to “spin” the situation by implying he had lied and had “improperly and cynically tried to manipulate and confuse public opinion”.

The piece suggested that when news of Harry’s legal battle with the Government was first revealed, his PR team released a statement saying that he had offered to “pay personally for UK police protection”, but that his offer was declined.

In February 2021 his wife Meghan Markle successfully sued the same newspaper group when they published extracts from a letter to her father Thomas Markle.

After two years the High Court granted a summary judgement in her favour, which she hailed as a “comprehensive win” over “illegal and dehumanising practices”.

Harry’s lawyers have argued that he had offered to pay for security for himself and his family whenever they travel to the UK, and that it was agreed at the January 2020 Sandringham summit in front of the late Queen and King Charles.

They added that in February of that year the offer was reiterated in a meeting with Sir Mark Sedwill, then cabinet secretary and UK home security adviser.

ANL have argued in their defence that this offer was not made or communicated to the Executive Committee for the Protection of Royalty and Public Figures (Ravec).

They are contesting the claim, using the “honest opinion” defence and will argue that it did not cause “serious harm” to his reputation.

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During the first stage of the claim in July, Mr Justice Nicklin ruled in the Duke’s favour, concluding that the royal was defamed by parts of the story because it suggested that his actions were “discreditable” and that he had intended to “mislead the public”.

However he rejected the argument that Harry was accused of lying, saying: “The article does not make that blunt allegation, whether expressly or by implication.

“The hypothetical ordinary reasonable reader would understand the difference, as a matter of fact, between ‘spinning’ facts and ‘lying’.”

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