August 9, 2020, 01.13 PM

LONDON, KOMPAS.com - A UK judge granted Meghan Markle her request to keep the names of her five close friends secret in an ongoing privacy invasion case against a British newspaper.

The British judge chided both sides in the case for playing out their battle in the media as well as the courtroom.

High Court Judge Mark Warby agreed that “for the time being at least,” the Duchess of Sussex’s request to maintain the anonymity of her friends to avoid a “frenzy of publicity” will be granted.

Friends of Meghan Markle defended the former British Royal Family senior member in the pages of a US magazine and she has since fought to prevent their identities from being revealed as the case is not yet a full trial.

The former Meghan Markle is suing the publisher of the Mail on Sunday and the MailOnline website over five articles that published portions of a handwritten letter she wrote to her estranged father, Thomas Markle, after her marriage to Prince Harry in 2018.

Meghan, 39, is seeking damages from publisher Associated Newspapers Ltd. for alleged misuse of private information, copyright infringement and data protection breaches.

The duchess asked the judge to prohibit publishing details of female friends who spoke anonymously to People magazine to condemn the alleged bullying she had received from the media. She argued that the friends were not parties to the case and had a “basic right to privacy.”

The women’s names are included in a confidential court document, but they have been identified in public only as A to E.

Associated Newspapers’ attorney Antony White said during a court hearing last week that the friends were potential witnesses, and keeping their names secret “would be a heavy curtailment of the media’s and the defendant’s entitlement to report this case, and the public’s right to know about it.”

The judge acknowledged he had to balance “the competing demands of confidentiality and open justice.”

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