MEGHAN MARKLE has been told off after a senior judge has criticised both parties in her ongoing legal battle against Associated Newspaper Ltd (ANL).
The Duchess of Sussex is suing the newspaper company after they published an article reproducing parts of a handwritten letter she sent to her estrange father Thomas Markle in 2018.
Today, Meghan saw a victory in the ongoing 10-month legal battle as a senior judge ruled the identities of her five friends who spoke to a magazine should remain protected.
But handing down his decision, Mr Justice Warby criticised both parties and argued they have been fighting a “tit-for-tat” PR battle outside the High Court courtroom.
He wrote: “It is… clear that neither side has, so far, been willing to confine the presentation of its case to the courtroom.
“Both sides have demonstrated an eagerness to play out the merits of their dispute in public, outside the courtroom and primarily in media reports.”
Meghan Markle criticised by judge over court case (Image: Splash)
Meghan Markle’s estranged father Thomas Markle (Image: Channel 5)
Mr Warby continued: “This will be a judge-alone trial, not a trial by jury.
“But to fight proceedings in court and through litigation PR or sensational reporting at one and the same time is not designed to enhance understanding of the legal process.
“For a party to file and immediately publicise prejudicial and partisan characterisations of the other’s litigation conduct in the media before a hearing certainly does not assist.”
Mr Warby argued the coverage has “selectively highlighted aspects of the defendant’s case and features of the claimant’s case that are novel and interesting to the public.
Meghan and Harry have now moved to Los Angeles (Image: Getty)
“The focus is on sensational reporting of information that happens to be contained in the claimant’s statements of case.”
During the preliminary hearing last week, Meghan’s lawyers asked for the five friends who were interviewed in People magazine to remain anonymous in reports of the proceedings.
Mr Warby concluded for the time being, the Duchess would be granted her request.
The friends spoke about the bullying Meghan has faced in the article, which was published in February last year.
Meghan and Harry timeline (Image: Express)
They have now only been identified in confidential court documents.
Meghan’s lawyer argued the friends have a right to anonymity both as confidential journalistic sources and under their own privacy rights.
Mr Warby today granted Meghan an induction which protects the identities of the five individuals.
Back in May, ANL won the first round in the legal battle after Mr Warby struck out part of Meghan’s case including allegations the publisher acted “dishonestly” by leaving out certain passages of the letter.
Meghan with her mother Doria Ragland (Image: Getty)
Court papers revealed Meghan has agreed to pay ANL’s £67,888 costs for the hearing in full.
The Duchess is believed to be suing the company over five articles in total – two in the Mail on Sunday and three on the MailOnline.
The articles were published in February 2019 and all reproduced parts of the letter she sent her father.
The headline read: “Revealed: The letter showing true tragedy of Meghan’s rift with a father she says has ‘broken her heart into a million pieces’.”
Meghan is seeking damages for alleged misuse of private information, copyright infringement and breach of the Data Protection Act.
ANL continues to deny the allegations and says it will contest the case.
Source: EXPRESS CO UK