The current litigation involving Prince Charles and the Mail on Sunday is understandably attracting media interest. Prince Charles is taking legal action against the newspaper for publishing parts of a private journal which was stolen from his offices. This journal relates to when he attended the Hong Kong hand over ceremony to China in 1997.
Last week media coverage focused not just on the content of the journals but mainly on the fact that a damaging witness statement signed by a former senior employee of the Prince, Mark Bolland. This said that Prince Charles viewed himself as a "political dissident" and appeared on behalf of the newspaper.
If I can give my observations:
1) On the face of it litigation in an open Court is a very risky business but Prince Charles has to bring this case as the Mail on Sunday has seven more royal journals where the Hong Kong one came from, and is longing to print them. This litigation(which is an application for summary judgment so may not be settled now) is going to decide whether the Mail is going to publish the 7 more journals which it acquired in such interesting circumstances.
2) If you read the Times & Telegraph on Saturday, you would have seen that the litigation managed to unite the left wing columnist, Alastair Campbell and the right wing Charles Moore in their condemnation of Mark Bolland. As Alastair Campbell wrote about Prince Charles "He is in a prominent public position and entitled to the basic trust and loyalty of people in whom he places his own trust and loyalty. He must be left ruing his character judgment today."
3) Public figures may now be afraid to go to the Press Complaints Commission - The current chairman of the PCC is Sir Christopher Meyer, the former ambassador to the United States who published memoirs which to many, breached confidences with politicians and leading public figures. As Campbell writes " Now that he has shown such disregard for discretion, vital in such a bridging role, I find it hard to see anyone other than those on the media side of the bridge should trust him."