A High Court judge has criticised Prince Harry at the end of his successful legal action against the Mail on Sunday.
The Duke of Sussex’s legal team was granted permission to make a personal statement in court but the judge ruled the costs they demanded were too high and the original draft statement they submitted was overly biased.
In a strongly-worded court order on costs, Mr Justice Nicklin said a demand by Prince Harry’s side for £35,000 in costs was “manifestly disproportionate”.
Chris Ship explains the legal action Prince Harry launched
Instead, he ruled that the Mail On Sunday’s publishers should pay just £2,500.
The costs - which related only to the reading of the 1,000 word statement in a virtual session of the court on Monday - should have been “a straightforward exercise and achieved at modest cost” said the judge.
He also ruled that Prince Harry’s “original draft statement” was “unduly tendentious” and criticisms he made of the Mail on Sunday were subsequently “removed or amended”.
Harry won his legal action against the newspaper after it published a story in October which claimed the Prince had “snubbed” the British Army and turned his back on the Royal Marines”.
Prince Harry held the honorary title of Captain General of the Marines until he left the UK last year for his new life in America.
His lawyers said in their statement the Duke of Sussex had “made repeated and concerted efforts to continue to support the Royal Marines and other members of the Armed Forces”.
The damages which Harry received for defamation are being donated to the Invictus Games Foundation - the tournament for injured and sick military personnel which he founded after his second tour of duty in Afghanistan.
In setting out his reasons on costs, Mr Justice Nicklin reminded Harry’s legal team that the purpose of such a statement in open court is to enable them to “publicise the fact and terms of the settlement of the claim”.
He ruled: “In defamation claims, they can serve a valuable function in publicising the claimant’s vindication” but that they shouldn’t be used “as a platform for collateral attacks on the defendant.”
Prince Harry’s victory, however, is a significant one and shows that he is willing and able to pursue legal against against sections of the tabloid press, unhindered by his relations with other members of the Royal Family or the view of senior royal aides.
A spokesperson for the Duke of Sussex said: “The Mail on Sunday and MailOnline publicly admitted in open court that they pushed a completely false and defamatory story. And they’ve apologised for questioning The Duke of Sussex’s commitment to the Royal Marines and British Armed Forces.”
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