Mail on Sunday appeal against Meghan, Duchess of Sussex ruling to be revealed at later date

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A judgement in the latest court case between the Duchess of Sussex and the publishers of the Mail on Sunday will be given at a later date.

Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL) had been appealing against a summary judgement given earlier this year.

Meghan sued Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL), the publisher of the Mail On Sunday, over five articles that reproduced parts of a "personal and private" letter sent to her father, Thomas Markle, in August 2018.

The High Court ruled ANL's publication of Meghan's letter to her father was unlawful. It meant that there was no need for a trial.

Three Court of Appeal judges heard ANL's arguments this week.

Sir Geoffrey Vos, Dame Victoria Sharp and Lord Justice Bean said on Thursday afternoon: "We will take time to consider our judgment in the usual way."

ANL's barrister, Andrew Caldecott QC, spoke of how Mr Markle was subject to "nasty and untrue" allegations made in an article in the US magazine People - and there was a public interest in correcting them.

He said the letter from the duchess to her father was "not a loving letter, not a generous letter", as opposed to how it was presented in the People article.

Mr Caldecott added: "Either we believe in freedom of expression or we don't. Thomas Markle has been royally attacked in the People magazine… and this is his reply.

"If you read the People article we don't know to what extent the allegations were authorised by the claimant or not.

"It is perfectly reasonable for Mr Markle to assume that the claimant was responsible."

The court heard the letter from Meghan to her father was "written with public consumption in mind as a possibility", according to ANL.

And parts of a witness statement from Jason Knauf who was Prince Harry and Meghan's media advisor until March 2019, were read out in court.

He said the texts included an early draft of the letter and that Meghan, 40, had written: "Obviously everything I have drafted is with the understanding that it could be leaked so I have been meticulous in my word choice, but please do let me know if anything stands out for you as a liability."

During proceedings, Meghan apologised for misleading the court over her recollection of events.

The court heard Mr Knauf provided information to Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durant, the authors of the biography of the Sussexes, Finding Freedom.

In a witness statement, Mr Knauf said the book was "discussed on a routine basis", including "directly with the duchess multiple times in person and over email".

Meghan said: "I accept that Mr Knauf did provide some information to the authors for the book and that he did so with my knowledge, for a meeting that he planned for with the authors in his capacity as communications secretary."

She added: "I had absolutely no wish or intention to mislead the defendant or the court."

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