Prince Charles’ lawyers fight diary leak
The prince believes the diaries were accessed unlawfully
Prince Charles is entitled to keep his personal documents confidential, like “the humblest private citizen”, his lawyer has told the High Court.
Associated Newspapers is being sued for breach of confidentiality and copyright after the Mail on Sunday published part of his private journal.
In extracts about the 1997 Hong Kong handover, the prince described Chinese officials as “appalling old waxworks”.
The prince claims eight diaries were copied by a former member of his staff.
“We say it is absolutely vital to the position of the claimant, and anyone else in his position, that this sort of document cannot be published willy nilly by the press,” said Hugh Tomlinson QC, for the prince.
Mr Tomlinson said Prince Charles had given copies of his private journals to family members, friends and advisers over the last 30 years in envelopes marked private and confidential.
“The claimant does not intend or wish to publish the journals although it is possible that after his death, edited extracts may be published,” he said.
Like everyone else, from the humblest private citizen to the highest public figure, he is entitled to keep his personal documents private
The Prince of Wales says the documents, including the 3,000 word journal he titled The Handover of Hong Kong – or The Great Chinese Takeaway, were unlawfully copied and wants the court to order their return.
In another reported extract published by Mail on Sunday in November 2005, Prince Charles described one ceremony as an “awful Soviet-style” performance and dismissed a speech by then-Chinese President Jiang Zemin as “propaganda”.
His client recognised he was the subject of public comment, Mr Tomlinson said.
“What he says, however, is that like everyone else, from the humblest private citizen to the highest public figure, he is entitled to keep his personal documents private.”
Mr Tomlinson said the publication in the Mail on Sunday could not be justified as “press freedom” as the right of free speech was governed by responsibilities.
He told the trial judge, Mr Justice Blackburne, that the prince’s legal team had decided against seeking orders for confidentiality over witness statements in the case.
Associated Newspapers, together with other media organisations, had been trying to stop the case being made the subject of such rulings.
(Extraído há meia-dúzia de minutos do site da BBC)