The Duke of Sussex’s libel claim against a newspaper publisher over an article about his legal action against the Home Office is due to have its first hearing on Thursday.
arry is suing Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL), publisher of the Mail on Sunday, after the paper published an article following a hearing in the Duke’s separate High Court into its security arrangements while at the UK.
The article was published in February under the title: “Exclusive: How Prince Harry tried to keep his legal fight with the government secret over police bodyguards…then – just minutes after the story erupted – his public relations machine tried to put a positive spin on the conflict.”
At a preliminary hearing in London, Judge Nicklin will be asked to determine the “natural and ordinary” meaning of the parts of the article in the claim.
The judge will also consider whether it is a statement of fact or an opinion and whether they are defamatory in his ruling, which will likely be in writing at a later date.
In his written complaint to the court, Harry said the reporting caused him “substantial injury, inconvenience and continuing distress”.
The Duke’s legal team have argued that the ‘natural and ordinary’ meaning of Mail on Sunday reporting includes that he ‘lied’ about being ever willing to pay for police protection in the Kingdom Kingdom and that he had “incorrectly and cynically attempted to manipulate and confuse the public”. opinion by allowing its “spin-docs” to make false and misleading statements”.
Harry is making his separate complaint against the Home Office after being told he would no longer have the ‘same degree’ of personal protection when visiting from the US, despite offering to pay him -same.
He argues that his private protection team in the United States does not have adequate overseas jurisdiction or access to British intelligence information needed to keep his family safe.
However, Robert Palmer QC, for the Home Office, previously told the court that the Duke’s private funding offer was ‘not relevant’ and that ‘police personal protective security is not available on a privately funded basis”.
The preliminary hearing in the libel claim will be held at the Royal Courts of Justice from 10.30am on Thursday.
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