The final hearing on the libel claim is expected to be heard in the High Court, due to an article by the Duke of Sussex about his appeal against the publisher of The Mail on Sunday to the Home Office over the duke’s security arrangements.
While in the UK, Harry is suing Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL) over an article about the separate Supreme Court claim regarding safety arrangements for himself and his family.
ANL disputes the claim.
The story was published in February under the headline: “Exclusive: How Prince Harry tried to keep his legal fight with the government over police bodyguards a secret… then – just moments after the story broke out – the PR machine tried to take a positive turn in the dispute” .
In July, Mr. Judge Nicklin ruled in Harry’s favor at the first stage of the libel allegation as to the “objective meaning” of the article, after a hearing in June.
The judge found the article defamatory, saying that a regular reader would understand from the article that Harry was “responsible for public statements published on his behalf, claiming that he was willing to pay for police protection in the UK”. The objection was directed at the Government’s refusal to grant him permission, whereas the reality, as revealed in the documents submitted to the legal proceedings, was that the applicant made his offer of payment only after the prosecution had commenced”.
The next hearing in the defamation case will be in the Supreme Court on Tuesday, and court listings indicate it will deal with costs and case management issues.
In his July judgment, Honorable Nicklin said: “It may be possible to ‘distort’ the facts in a way that does not mislead, but the argument made in the article was that the aim was to mislead the public.
“This provides the necessary element to make meanings defamatory in common law.”
The judge dismissed the allegation made by the duke’s legal team that the article accused Harry of lying, saying: “The article does not make such a clear allegation, whether express or implied.
“The hypothetical ordinary reasonable reader will, in fact, understand the difference between ‘returning’ facts and ‘lie’.”
Harry is filing separate lawsuits against the Home Office after being told that he will no longer be provided with “the same degree of personal protective security” when he visits from the US, despite offering to pay himself.
In July, a judge authorized a full hearing of the Duke’s appeal against the decision of the Executive Committee for the Protection of Copyrights and Prominent Persons (Ravec), which falls within the remit of the Home Office.
A date has not yet been set for that hearing.