Prince Charles faces new legal challenge over Hong Kong journals

The Prince of Wales is still facing a legal battle over a newspaper's plan to publish his private journals – despite the emphatic first-round victory he scored in the Court of Appeal last year.

Charles's lawyers argued in the High Court today that the Mail on Sunday had "failed spectacularly" when appeal judges ruled that it infringed his copyright and confidentiality by publishing extracts from his 1997 journal about the hand-over of Hong Kong to mainland China.

The newspaper therefore had no excuse for continuing to hold on to seven other leaked journals to which the same principles applied, said Hugh Tomlinson QC.

He asked for an on-the-spot "summary judgment" protecting the privacy of the other diaries.

But barrister Pushpinder Saini, for Associated Newspapers, which publishes the Mail on Sunday, told Mr Justice Blackburne that the newspaper wanted time to file evidence on "public interest" issues different from those in the case of the Hong Kong journal.

Mr Saini also pointed out that the Mail on Sunday was in the process of applying to the House of Lords for permission to appeal against the Court of Appeal decision.

The judge adjourned the case for a one-day hearing in the week beginning May 21.

Charles took action after the Mail on Sunday published extracts from his diary about the handover – entitled The Handover Of Hong Kong or The Great Chinese Takeaway – in which he referred to members of the Chinese hierarchy as "appalling old waxworks".

The journal and seven others had been disclosed to the newspaper by Sarah Goodall, a disaffected former secretary in the Prince's office, although she had signed a confidentiality agreement.

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