Do Paparazzi Photos Of Meghan Markle Violate B.C. Privacy Laws?

Maija Kappler

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were willing to break tradition, risk their public goodwill, and oppose the Queen herself to establish a private life away from a racist press and invasive photographers.

But will British Columbia actually offer them a paparazzi-free life?

Meghan had only been back in Canada for a few days before a photo emerged of her walking through a Vancouver Island park with her baby and two dogs. The photo made several newspapers in the U.K., and swiftly prompted the threat of legal action from the couple.

The BBC reported that lawyers for the couple say the photographers hid in a bush to get the photos, which Meghan did not consent to.

Lawyers also say photographers have used long-range lenses to photograph the inside of their house, and that paparazzi have been camped out in front of the home for days.

“There are serious safety concerns about how the paparazzi are driving and the risk to life they pose,” Harry and Meghan’s cease and desist letter said, according to TMZ. The couple said they would sue any outlet that purchased or published the photos.

Their presence in B.C. will likely test the province’s privacy laws, which have very rarely been challenged, one lawyer said.

Vancouver lawyer Roger McConchie specializes in defamation and privacy issues, but privacy accounts for only “a minute fraction” of his practice, he told HuffPost Canada. There’s very little case law on the subject. 

Public figures don’t have a ton of rights in public places

McConchie doesn’t think Meghan and Harry would be likely to win a case stating that the park photos were an invasion of their privacy.

Unlike many other Canadian provinces, B.C. does have a Privacy Act, which states that you can sue someone who willingly violates your privacy without having to prove damages.

But the bad news for Harry and Meghan is that one of the exceptions to that rule is designed in favour of the news media.

A fan snaps a photo of Meghan and Harry at the London premiere of

“Publishing something is not a violation of privacy if it’s...

Continue reading on HuffPost