London court throws out part of Duchess Meghan’s privacy claim against newspaper

London's High Court on Friday threw out part of a claim brought by Meghan, Britain's Duchess of Sussex, against a tabloid newspaper for breaching her privacy. (File/AFP)
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Updated 01 May 2020

London court throws out part of Duchess Meghan’s privacy claim against newspaper

  • Lawyers for the duchess say the publication of her letter by the paper was a misuse of private information
  • Meghan and Harry are now living in the Los Angeles area having stepped down from their royal roles at the end of March

LONDON: London's High Court on Friday threw out part of a claim brought by Meghan, Britain's Duchess of Sussex, against a tabloid newspaper for breaching her privacy.
Meghan, wife of Queen Elizabeth's grandson Prince Harry, is suing publisher Associated Newspapers over articles its Mail on Sunday newspaper printed in February last year which included parts of a letter she had sent to her father, Thomas Markle.
At a hearing last week, the paper's lawyer argued that allegations it had acted dishonestly and had stoked the family rift should be removed from the case along with references to other articles about the royal which Meghan says were false.
"I agree that all three categories of allegation should be struck out of the Particulars of Claim," judge Mark Warby said in his ruling.
Lawyers for the duchess say the publication of her letter by the paper was a misuse of private information and breached her copyright. They are seeking aggravated damages.
As part of the claim, they had accused the Mail and other tabloids of harassing, humiliating and manipulating Thomas Markle, and contributing towards a fallout between him and his daughter. The two have not spoken since her glitzy wedding to Harry in May 2018.
The paper rejected the allegation it had acted dishonestly or maliciously by publishing extracts of the letter she sent her father in August 2018 and said it was "remarkable" the claim about the treatment of Markle had been made without the duchess having contacted him to see if he agreed.
"Today’s ruling makes very clear that the core elements of this case do not change and will continue to move forward," said a spokesman for Schillings, Meghan's law firm.
He added: "The Duchess’ rights were violated; the legal boundaries around privacy were crossed. As part of this process, the extremes to which The Mail on Sunday used distortive, manipulative, and dishonest tactics to target The Duchess of Sussex have been put on full display."
Meghan and Harry are now living in the Los Angeles area having stepped down from their royal roles at the end of March.
The case will still go on to a full trial but no date for it has yet been set.


Pakistan launches anti-polio drive as COVID-19 cases decline

Updated 25 min 42 sec ago

Pakistan launches anti-polio drive as COVID-19 cases decline

  • Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria are the three countries in the world where polio is still endemic
  • Pakistan has reported about 100 new polio cases from various parts of the country since Jan.

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani health officials on Saturday launched a seven-day vaccination campaign against polio as part of efforts aimed at eliminating the crippling disease amid a steady decline in fatalities and infections from the coronavirus, which had recently overwhelmed the country’s fragile health system.
The anti-polio campaign, which began amid tight security, aims to vaccinate as many as 34 million children across Pakistan, including former Taliban strongholds bordering Afghanistan, a government statement said.
Medical workers participating in the drive against polio were seen adhering to social distancing regulations as they wore face masks and gloves while going house-to-house to avoid a spike in coronavirus cases.
“I am hopeful that parents will continue to realize the importance of vaccinating their children during this campaign,” said Faisal Sultan, an adviser to the prime minister on health issues.
According to Rana Safdar, who heads the government’s polio program, similar campaigns against polio will be launched in October, November and December.
Earlier Saturday, Pakistan’s military said Bill Gates, the Microsoft co-founder and billionaire philanthropist, praised Islamabad’s success in the fight against coronavirus in a telephone call to the country’s army chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa. It said Gates also discussed the resumption of the drive against polio.
Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria are the three countries in the world where polio — a disabling and life-threatening disease caused by the polio virus — is still endemic. The nonprofit Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has helped Pakistan and other places worldwide fight the disease.
Pakistan had hoped to eliminate the disease by 2018, when only 12 cases were reported. But there was a surge in new cases the following year. Since January, Pakistan has reported about 100 new polio cases from various parts of the country, including the northwestern region bordering Afghanistan.
Pakistani Taliban and other militants regularly stage attacks on polio teams and security forces escorting them because they claim the anti-polio drive is part of an alleged Western conspiracy to sterilize children or collect intelligence. Attacks on polio teams increased after it was revealed that a fake hepatitis vaccination campaign was used as a ruse by the CIA in the hunt for Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. Bin Laden was killed by US commandos in 2011 in Pakistan.
Pakistan halted the drive against polio in March and resumed it last month amid a decline in infections and fatalities from COVID-19.
On Saturday, Pakistan reported only 9 new deaths from the new virus in the past 24 hours, increasing the country’s total of COVID-19 deaths to 6,162. So far, Pakistan has reported 288,047 cases and officials say about 93% of the patients recovered since February, when the country reported its first confirmed case.