A unilateral Statement in Open Court [pdf] was read today before Mr Justice Nicklin, after The Duke of Sussex accepted an offer of settlement in relation to false claims made by the Mail on Sunday that he had turned his back on the Royal Marines and ignored correspondence from Lord Dannatt, the former Chief of the General Staff.
The Mail on Sunday and MailOnline published articles in October 2020 making false and defamatory claims against the Duke of Sussex. The Duke of Sussex pointed out that true position is that he has made and concerted efforts to continue to support the Royal Marines and other members of the Armed Forces and their families over the past year. It is also untrue that The Duke ignored correspondence from Lord Dannatt.
The Mail on Sunday was immediately put on notice of the falsity of the articles but they remained online for a month. On 3 December 2020 a settlement offer was made. This was accepted on 24 December 2020. An apology was agreed and published but had nothing like the prominence of the original article. It appeared under the generic heading “Corrections and Clarifications” with no headline. The online version was only shared 9 times, compared to 1,000 times for the original article.
The apology incorrectly stated that the Mail on Sunday had made a donation to the Invictus Games Foundation. In fact it has paid damages which The Duke has chosen to donate to the foundation.
The Daily Mail did not join in the Statement in Open Court so it does not include an apology from them for the defamatory allegations which they published.
We drew attention to a similar unilateral statement in open court in a claim against the Mail by Sir James and Lady Dyson and in December 2020.
Yet another good reason why Crime and Courts Act 2013 s.40 should be in force.