Prince Harry libel trial: Court case to go ahead after failed attempt to get Mail On Sunday defence thrown out
Prince Harry is suing Mail On Sunday publishers Associated Newspapers Limited over claims made about him in February 2022
Prince Harry's libel trial against Mail On Sunday publisher Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL) is to go ahead after an attempt to get the publisher's defence thrown out of court failed. The Duke of Sussex is suing ANL over an article published in February 2022 which spoke about his legal challenge against the Home Office in connection with his security arrangements.
The story claimed that the former senior royal had tried to keep the legal battle over his security arrangement from the public. ANL has used the honest opinion defence, adding that it did not cause "serious harm" to his reputation. The High Court judge, Mr Justice Nicklin, today declared that the defence had "a real prospect of success and should go forward to trial".
Andrew Caldecott KC, for ANL, said that ending the trial without considering ANL's defence would be "wholly without merit". He added: “The claimant was responsible for press statements that said he would pay for security when he had never expressed any willingness to pay until after the judicial review.”
A press statement from Prince Harry's camp released at the time of the article's publication read: “The duke first offered to pay personally for UK police protection for himself and his family in January of 2020 at Sandringham. That offer was dismissed. He remains willing to cover the cost of security, as not to impose on the British taxpayer.”
He said: “There is a real prospect that the defendant (ANL) will succeed in demonstrating that this was a misleading description of the issues in the judicial review claim, arguably promoted because it was hoped to show the claimant’s judicial review claim in a positive light, whereas a portrayal of the judicial review claim as the claimant trying to force the Government to reinstate his, taxpayer-funded, state security risked his appearing in a negative light.
“I anticipate that, at trial, the defendant may well submit that this was a masterclass in the art of ‘spinning’. And, the defendant argues, it was successful in misleading and/or confusing the public.”