Prince Harry, Baroness Doreen Lawrence, Sir Elton John, and others have faced a setback in their privacy case against Associated Newspapers. A High Court judge ruled that certain parts of their case are inadmissible. Mr Justice Nicklin stated that allowing the case to continue in its current form would be an abuse of process and bring the administration of justice into disrepute. However, the judge did allow the claimants to take the rest of their cases to trial, rejecting the newspaper group’s application to have them thrown out. The judge also emphasized the significant public interest in preventing the claimants from using confidential documents in breach of an order made by the Leveson Inquiry 12 years ago.
Associated Newspapers, which has consistently denied the allegations, welcomed the judge’s decision. They stated that the information supplied to the Leveson Inquiry remains subject to the Restriction Order imposed by Lord Justice Leveson. They described the ruling as a significant victory for justice and the Mail, and emphasized that the claims made by Prince Harry and others are preposterous.
The Duke of Sussex and the other claimants launched their hacking case in October last year, citing confessions by a private investigator. However, the investigator later denied these claims, prompting the judge to warn the claimants that they may need to adjust their expectations. The case has yet to come to trial, and Associated Newspapers made several applications to the judge, including objecting to the claimants using copies of financial ledgers from the publisher of the Mail titles. These ledgers were provided to the Leveson Inquiry and treated as confidential. The judge upheld the newspaper’s objection, stating that the Court must recognize the significant public interest in observing a restriction order made under the Inquiries Act 2005.
In his ruling, Mr Justice Nicklin emphasized that allowing the use of material in breach of a restriction order would be an abuse of process and bring the administration of justice into disrepute. The case is ongoing, and a further preliminary hearing is scheduled for November 21.
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