Meghan Markle launches 11th-hour bid to delay High Court privacy battle that could prevent her having to give evidence

4 weeks ago 6

MEGHAN Markle has launched an 11th-hour bid to delay her High Court privacy battle - which could prevent her from having to give evidence.

The Duchess of Sussex's team submitted an application to adjourn the case - one element of which could result in the trial not going ahead.

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Meghan Markle has asked for the case to be delayed

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Meghan Markle has asked for the case to be delayedCredit: PA:Press Association

It is understood the adjournment could include a Summary Judgment - which concludes a case without the need for a full trial.

This could mean that all or parts of her case against the Mail on Sunday could be deemed not necessary to go to trial.

If it is granted against the entire case, Meghan, 39, would not need to give evidence.

It has also been reported that her team wish to strike out elements of the Associated Newspaper's defence - which could include the use of the Royal's unauthorised biography, Finding Freedom.

A ten-day trial was set to take place in London on January 11 with the Duchess due to give evidence against her father Thomas Markle, 75.

Justice Warby in the High Court will decide tomorrow on Meghan's plea for an adjournment.

It comes after Meghan lost a court battle last month to block claims she allegedly co-operated with the authors.

She was accused of feeding personal information to the writers of the biography to “set out her own version of events in a way that is favourable to her”.

MAKING A BID

Judge Francesca Kaye ruled The Mail on Sunday can rely on Finding Freedom in its defence in the High Court.

She said: "[Meghan] says she had nothing to do with the information in the public domain, either directly or indirectly. She says 'it's nothing to do with me', which is a simple case.

"If it's a house of cards, then it will quickly fall down at trial. But I'm satisfied the amendments are arguable."

She added that Meghan "knows the case she has to meet" and that "there is no suggestion that she is in fact unable to do so".

What is a Summary Judgment?

The court may give summary judgment against a claimant or defendant on the whole of a claim or on a particular issue if it is agreed that:

The claimant has no real prospect of succeeding on the claim The defendant has no real prospect of successfully defending the claim There is another compelling reason why the case or issue should be disposed of at trial

The Duchess is seeking damages for alleged misuse of private information, breaching the Data Protection Act and infringement of copyright over five articles published in February 2019 which included extracts from the "private and confidential" letter to her father.

Associated Newspapers claimed Prince Harry's wife had herself leaked details of the letter to the media through friends.

The publisher argued that Meghan was "pleased" when five friends spoke up to defend her in an interview with People Magazine, which mentioned the letter.

And last month the publisher sought permission to amend its defence to argue Meghan "co-operated with the authors of the recently published book Finding Freedom to put out their version of certain events".

DATE DELAY

Anthony White QC, for the MoS, said: “[Meghan] has allowed information about her private and family life, including her relationship and communications with her father and the letter, and the private and family lives of others, to enter the public domain by means of the book.”

Prince Harry’s wife was also told to pay £39,000 costs on top of estimated legal costs of £140,000, totalling £179,000.

Meghan’s lawyers have fiercely denied she collaborated with the authors - even calling the stories in Finding Freedom “extremely anodyne, the product of creative licence and/or inaccurate” in a bid to distance her from it.

Author Omid Scobie claimed in his witness statement it was "false" to suggest Harry or Meghan collaborated on Finding Freedom, which made bombshell claims about the couple and Megxit from the royal family.

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Meghan, who is currently living in the US with Prince Harry and their one-year-old son Archie, is suing ANL over five articles in total, two in the MoS and three on MailOnline, which were published in February 2019, and reproduced parts of a handwritten letter she sent to her father in August 2018.

ANL wholly denies the allegations, particularly the duchess's claim that the letter was edited in any way that changed its meaning, and says it will hotly contest the case.

A ten-day trial was expected to begin on January 11 but could now be delayed.

Harry and Meghan recently spoke to a podcast fronted by a group of teens

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Harry and Meghan recently spoke to a podcast fronted by a group of teensCredit: Teenager Therapy/Twitter

Meghan also recently told how she thought social media use was an addiction

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Meghan also recently told how she thought social media use was an addiction Credit: Fortune

Omid Scobie on strained relationship Prince Harry and Meghan Markle had with Buckingham Palace before leaving

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