Charles and valet' legal challenge pays off for MoS

MoS: scoop boosted sale by 180,000

The Mail on Sunday’s success at relaxing the terms of a gagging order on its royal scoop were rewarded with a 180,000 sales increase at the weekend.

This was despite it still being barred by the terms of last week’s injunction from publishing the crucial details of an alleged incident involving the Prince of Wales and a royal servant.

The MoS instead referred obliquely to the alleged episode, with most of the story based around an interview with George Smith in which he backed up his previous claims. The MoS sale rose from an expected 2,250,000 to around 2,430,000.

The original 3,000-word interview with Smith was due to appear on 2 November, but had to be pulled after a blanket injunction brought by former royal aide Michael Fawcett was granted the day before. Such libel injunctions are extremely rare.

According to sources at TheMoS, the original injunction covered not only the contentious parts of the interview but every word of it. It meant TheMoS was effectively at a disadvantage to other newspapers and barred from reporting much that was uncontroversial and already in the public domain.

Last Thursday, The MoS went to the High Court and succeeded in relaxing the terms of the order so that it only affected the contentious parts of the interview. The same day, The Guardianwon the right to name Fawcett as the person who had brought out the injunction.

Sources at The MoS say its lawyers are continuing to look at overturning Fawcett’s injunction.

By Dominic Ponsford

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