Judge Rules Mail On Sunday Article defamatory

The Supreme Court judge agreed with this interpretation, writing that the story could lead readers to believe that Harry had purposefully tried to confuse the public about the truth of his lawsuits against the government.

“It may be possible to ‘spin’ the facts in a way that is not misleading, but the allegation of the article was very much that the purpose was to mislead the public,” the judge wrote. “It provides the necessary element to make the meanings defamatory at common law.”

Nicklin also ruled that the story’s description of how Harry and his lawyers had tried to keep his efforts to secure police protection from the Home Office confidential met the threshold of defamation.

The “natural and ordinary” meaning of the Mail on Sunday article, Nicklin wrote, was that Harry had “initially sought confidentiality restrictions that were far-reaching and unjustifiably broad and were rightly challenged by the Home Office on the grounds of transparency and open justice.”

The High Court judge wrote that “the message that comes across clearly, in the headlines and [specific] paragraphs’ of the Mail on Sunday story met the common law requirements for defamation.

Throughout the ruling, Nicklin emphasized that his decision was “very much the first stage of a libel claim.”

“The next step will be for the defendant to file a defense to the claim. It will be a matter to be decided later in the case whether or not the claim succeeds and on what basis,” Nicklin wrote.

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