Entertainment Celebrity Royal Meghan Markle faces setback in court battle over dad’s letter
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Meghan Markle faces setback in court battle over dad’s letter

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Meghan Markle has lost her bid to stop details from a recently published biography from being used by a tabloid newspaper that she is suing for privacy breaches.

London’s High Court has ruled that publisher Associated Newspapers could amend its written defence to rely on Finding Freedom as evidence because it did not raise “new defences”.

Judge Francesca Kaye said it simply added “further particulars” of the case and that Meghan “knows the case she has to meet” and that “there is no suggestion that she is in fact unable to do so”.

The paper’s lawyers had argued that the biography was evidence that Meghan intended to publicise some private details, including the contents of a handwritten letter she sent to her estranged father, Thomas Markle, in 2018.

It was apparently part of a media campaign to portray her in a positive light.

They said information about the handwritten letter was given to the book’s authors so Meghan could “set out her own version of events in a way that is favourable to her”.

But Meghan’s lawyer Justin Rushbrooke said there was no evidence for the Mail‘s claims and the court should not permit speculative amendments.

One of the book’s authors, Omid Scobie, gave a witness statement saying the couple had not authorised the book nor been interviewed for it.

The judge, Ms Kaye ruled that while she made no view on the strength of the Mail‘s case, the amendments could not be said to be “unarguable or utterly fanciful”.

She said neither the newspaper’s arguments nor Mr Scobie’s statement provided a “knockout blow” and they would be issues for the trial judge to determine.

Antony White, the paper’s lawyer, told the court last week some personal information in the biography of Harry and Meghan could only have come from the couple themselves or close friends authorised to disclose it.

The book “gives every appearance of having been written with their extensive cooperation”, he said.

The trial is scheduled to start on January 11 and to last between 7 and 10 days.

Tuesday’s decision is the second setback for the Duchess after the court in May rejected part of her claim that the paper had acted dishonestly and stoked the rift with her father.

However her legal team has so far successfully resisted the paper’s attempts to publish the names of five friends who gave anonymous interviews to the US magazine People, with the court agreeing they can stay secret for the time being.

-with AAP