High Court set for new Royal leak case

The High Court appears to be set for a new confrontation between the media and the law over reporting of royal leaks.

A hearing is now pending in the Queen's Bench Division for contempt proceedings over the Today newspaper's publication of extracts from a book written by former Royal housekeeper Joyce Ann Berry (known as Wendy Berry) and published in the US.

High Court injunctions were granted earlier this year banning the UK media from using the Berry material. It was banned on the basis that it was obtained during her employment as a housekeeper for the Prince and Princess and publication would constitute a breach of confidence, owed by the terms of her employment.

The first injunction followed a News of the World story in January this year.

The latest moves are against News (UK), publishers of Today, which is in the same national paper stable as the News of the World, and against Today editor, Richard Stott.

In July, Today published a piece saying Berry had defied the London court order which banned her from selling her story by publishing a book which had gone on sale in New York. They also published extracts of the book.

In the pending court action a jail sentence is being sought against Stott and fines are sought against the company. Both are accused of "prejudicing or impeding the course of justice" by their publication.

Court documents say the publication undermined the purpose of the ban imposed by Mrs Justice Steel, namely to maintain the status quo

pending full trial of the allegations made by the Prince and Princess against Berry.