Meghan aide regretted not giving evidence earlier in privacy case.

 

An ex-aide to the Duchess of Sussex “regretted” not giving evidence in her High Court case against the publisher of the Mail on Sunday, the Court of Appeal has heard.

 

 

Meghan won the privacy case when a judge found the publication of a letter to her father was unlawful – a ruling the publisher is trying to overturn.

 

 

Papers released on the appeal hearing’s final day revealed the regret of Jason Knauf, her ex-communications secretary.The ruling is due at a later date.

 

 

Associated Newspapers’ legal team have been seeking to overturn the High Court judgement at the Court of Appeal, disputing that Meghan’s letter to her father Thomas Markle – sent in August 2018 – was simply a private and personal letter.

 

 

In written evidence, Meghan denied she thought it likely that her father would leak the letter and said she did not want any of it to be published.

 

 

On Wednesday Mr Knauf – who is due to stand down from his current role as the chief executive officer of the Royal Foundation at the end of the year – said in a witness statement that the duchess had written the letter with the understanding that it could be leaked.

 

 

Also on Wednesday, a statement from Meghan contained an apology to the court for not remembering an email exchange in which she agreed Mr Knauf could provide information to the authors of the Finding Freedom biography, written by Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand.

 

 

On Thursday, documents were released revealing that a confidential source contacted the publisher with the information that Mr Knauf regretted not giving evidence during the High Court case.

 

 

Keith Mathieson, solicitor for Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL), said in a witness statement that, in April, Mr Knauf’s then legal team contacted ANL’s lawyers to say his position was “strictly neutral” and he did not wish to have any involvement in the proceedings.

 

 

But after Meghan won the case, ANL was contacted by the source in July and approached Mr Knauf, who wished to provide a statement for the appeal.

 

 

“Mr Knauf was plainly a central figure in the events he describes,” Mr Mathieson said, saying the former aide was a “senior and trusted member of the royal household staff”.

 

 

Mr Mathieson described Mr Knauf’s witness statement as “measured in tone” and “honest and credible”.

 

 

He said the former aide had been “careful not to include evidence of matters beyond his own personal knowledge”.

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