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Prince Harry loses bid to throw out Mail on Sunday owner’s libel defence

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Prince Harry has lost an attempt to strike out the Mail on Sunday’s defence to his libel claim against the paper over its reporting of his dispute with the Home Office over his security arrangements.

Prince Harry loses bid to throw out Mail on Sunday owner’s libel defence

The Duke of Sussex is suing the paper’s owner, Associated Newspapers, over a story published online and in print on 19 and 20 February 2022 relating to his legal claim against the Home Office over the downgrading of his protective security in the UK after he ceased to become a working royal.

 

 

Prince Harry loses bid to throw out Mail on Sunday owner’s libel defence

FILE PHOTO: Britain’s Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend a panel held during Project Healthy Minds’ second annual World Mental Health Day Festival and The Archewell Foundation Parents’ Summit: Mental Wellness in the Digital Age in New York City, U.S.The high court has previously ruled that the meaning of the Mail on Sunday’s story was that Harry sought “far-reaching and unjustifiably” wide confidentiality restrictions to keep his case against the Home Office secret, and that public statements made on his behalf suggested that the case was about Harry being allowed to pay for his own security when, in reality, he only made the offer to pay after the proceedings had commenced.

 

Prince Harry loses bid to throw out Mail on Sunday owner’s libel defence

The judge found that some of the words were expressions of opinion but Harry then brought a claim to strike out the defence of honest opinion, arguing that an honest person could not have held the opinion on the basis of any fact which existed at the time the article was published.

 

 

However, the Mail on Sunday disputed the strike out claim and, in a judgment handed down on Friday, Nicklin rejected Harry’s argument, meaning that a defence of honest opinion can be deployed and the case will proceed to trial.The judge wrote: “Overall, it is not fanciful that the defendant will be successful, at trial, in demonstrating that the public statements issued on the claimant’s behalf sought to promote the JR (judicial review) claim as his battle against the government’s (perverse) decision to refuse to allow him to pay for his own security.

 

Prince Harry loses bid to throw out Mail on Sunday owner’s libel defence

“There is a real prospect that the defendant will succeed in demonstrating that this was a misleading description of the issues in the JR claim, arguably promoted because it was hoped to show the claimant’s JR claim in a positive light, whereas a portrayal of the JR claim as the claimant trying to force the government to reinstate his (tax-payer funded) state security risked his appearing in a negative light.

 

Prince Harry loses bid to throw out Mail on Sunday owner’s libel defence

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