06:32 GMT30 November 2020
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    A British judge has granted a monthslong delay in court proceedings for Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, and Prince Harry’s privacy lawsuit against a British newspaper publisher accused of violating the UK’s Data Protection Act 2018.

    Judge Mark Warby announced during a Thursday hearing in London that an appeal filed by Meghan’s legal team was granted a nine-month delay, moving the trial from January 11, 2021, to October or November 2021, according to the Associated Press.

    “The primary basis for the application is a confidential ground, the merits of which have been examined in the course of a private hearing,” he said, as reported by Reuters.

    “My conclusion is that the right decision in all the circumstances is to grant the application.”

    The privacy lawsuit against Associated Newspapers relates to five articles, published in February 2019 via the Daily Mail and MailOnline, that included portions of a handwritten letter addressed from Meghan to her father, Thomas Markle.

    Associated Newspapers is the publisher of the Daily Mail, MailOnline, Metro, Metro.co.uk, The Mail on Sunday, i newspaper and inews.co.uk.

    Court documents filed on Meghan’s behalf cited "the misuse of private information, infringement of copyright and breach of the Data Protection Act 2018,” reported The Hill.

    The alleged invasion of privacy took place months following the former actor’s marriage to Harry. Their son Archie was born a few months after the articles were published.

    "Though this action may not be the safe one, it is the right one," Harry expressed in an October 2019 statement about the lawsuit.

    "Because my deepest fear is history repeating itself. I’ve seen what happens when someone I love is commoditized to the point that they are no longer treated or seen as a real person. I lost my mother and now I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces."

    Liz Hartley, legal director for the newspaper publisher, has argued that Associated Newspapers is contesting the decision because of the unnecessary stress a trial delay would put on Thomas Markle, who is 76 years old and is planning to take the witness stand in London.

    “He continues to feel that he has been misrepresented and that the claimant should not be pursuing this claim,” she said.

    “He is anxious that he should have his day in court so that he can tell the truth in public, have his evidence tested under cross-examination and defend himself against the suggestion that he breached the claimant’s privacy without any reasonable justification.”


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