MEGHAN Markle today won her bid to delay a High Court privacy battle for almost a YEAR.
The Duchess of Sussex is suing Associated Newspapers, the publisher of the Mail on Sunday, for releasing a letter she wrote to her estranged father Thomas Markle.
Meghan Markle is suing the publishers of the Mail on Sunday after a letter she sent her estranged father was released
A ten-day trial was set to take place in London on January 11 next year, with the 39-year-old possibly expected to give evidence in the witness box.
However, it was revealed yesterday that the former actress had submitted an application asking for the case to be adjourned.
Mr Justice Warby today said he had considered the application and granted the delay – adding the “primary basis” on which the adjournment was sought was “a confidential ground”.
He said: “The right decision in all the circumstances is to grant the application to adjourn.
“That means that the trial date of January 11 2021 will be vacated and the trial will be refixed for a new date in the autumn.”
The Times today reported speculation from legal experts that the duchess might be hoping to avoid giving evidence during the trial, therefore steering clear of being cross-examined.
It was further claimed yesterday the bid was made after the release of bombshell biography Finding Freedom. with the judge ruling it could be included in evidence against Meghan.
Finding Freedom, written by Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand, is a tell-all about the Sussexes experience when they quit as senior royals in what become dubbed Megxit.
Last month Meghan lost a court battle to block claims she allegedly co-operated with the authors of Finding Freedom.
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”.
But a source close to the duchess told The Times they believed they had “an overwhelmingly strong case”.
The source said: “We do not believe that the defence’s case has a chance of succeeding, and do not believe there is a compelling reason for trial.
“We are confident in our case and therefore believe it should be determined on a summary basis.”
It is also thought the application also includes an attempt to stop the unauthorised biography being included in the case.
Meghan’s team have also reportedly lodged an application for a Summary Judgment, arguing there isn’t a compelling reason for a trial.
The Duchess is seeking damages from the Mail on Sunday 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.
Publisher 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”.
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.
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.
Meghan Markle has been estranged from her father Thomas Markle
Meghan and Harry now live in the US after quitting the royal family
A bombshell biography could now be included in the privacy case