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22 May, 2024
 
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Prince Harry drops lawsuit against Daily Mail

Harry's latest legal move raises eyebrows

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Prince Harry has chosen to abandon his libel lawsuit against the Daily Mail tabloid's publisher, Associated Newspapers Ltd., following a recent court ruling that suggested a potential trial loss.

According to a report on AP, lawyers for the Duke of Sussex notified the High Court in London about this decision, marking a significant development in his high-profile conflict with the British press.

No specific reason was provided for dropping the lawsuit, but the announcement coincided with the day Harry was supposed to submit documents for the case. This decision follows a challenging ruling last month, where a judge ordered Harry to pay the publisher over $60,000 in legal fees after failing to secure victory without going to trial. As a result, Harry now faces covering the publisher's legal fees, reported to be $316,000.

Harry, 39, the estranged younger son of King Charles III, has been at odds with the royal family, taking legal action as a primary means to hold the news media accountable for what he perceives as persistent intrusion into his life. Associated Newspapers is one of three tabloid publishers he has sued, alleging the use of unlawful means, such as deception, phone hacking, or hiring private investigators, to unearth information about him. Cases against Associated and another against the publisher of The Sun are set for trial.

In the only case that has gone to trial so far, Harry achieved a significant victory against the publishers of the Daily Mirror. The judge ruled that phone hacking was "widespread and habitual," awarding him $177,000 in damages.

The libel case revolved around a Mail on Sunday article claiming Harry attempted to conceal efforts to retain publicly funded protection in the UK after stepping back from his royal duties. His lawyers argued that the article attacked his honesty and integrity, potentially undermining his charity work. The publisher contended that the article expressed an honest opinion and caused no serious harm to his reputation.

Despite seeking summary judgment in March to win the case without a trial, Harry's request was denied. Justice Matthew Nicklin ruled on Dec. 8 that the publisher was more likely to succeed in its defense, asserting that statements on Harry's behalf were misleading and that the article reflected an "honest opinion" and was not libelous.

Harry also has a pending lawsuit against the government's decision to provide him protection on a case-by-case basis during visits to Britain. He claims that social media hostility and relentless media hounding threaten his safety and that of his family, citing these as factors influencing his decision to leave his role as a senior royal and move to the United States. A spokesperson for Harry emphasized that his focus remains on this case and his family's safety.

[With information sourced from AP]

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