UK High Court Rules Prince Harry Victim of Extensive Phone Hacking

US & WORLD
Prince Harry was victim of ‘extensive’ phone hacking, UK High Court rules

London – The Duke of Sussex was granted £140,600 ($179,000) on Friday following the UK High Court’s decision that he was extensively targeted in phone hacking by Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) from 2006 to 2011.

Justice Fancourt determined that MGN utilized unlawful methods, such as hacking voicemail messages and employing private investigators, in publishing 15 stories about Prince Harry. Out of the 33 articles considered, the judge found that the other 18 did not have sufficient evidence to support claims beyond phone hacking.

The Duke of Sussex, along with three other claimants, sued the British newspaper group, which publishes The Daily Mirror, The Sunday Mirror, and Sunday People, alleging illegal interception of voicemails and other illicit means over approximately 15 years.

Prince Harry, expressing his satisfaction with the ruling against MGN, stated through his lawyer David Sherborne in London, “It’s a great day for truth, as well as accountability.” The court concluded that unlawful and criminal activities occurred across all three newspaper titles habitually and widely for over a decade.

The prince called upon the financial regulator, the Metropolitan Police, and prosecuting authorities to investigate and bring charges against the company and those involved in breaking the law. He emphasized the need for a “free and honest press” in both Great Britain and globally.

Regarding the ruling, Prince Harry added, “Today’s victory is vindicating and affirming. In light of the importance of preserving a free and honest press, it’s a worthwhile price to pay. The mission continues.”

Due to short notice from the court, the prince’s legal team explained that he couldn’t present his statement in person.

In a summary of the ruling, the judge disclosed that phone hacking by the publisher began in 1996 and remained extensive from 2006 to 2011. However, the extent of hacking into the prince’s phone was described as modest.

MGN welcomed the judgment, stating that it provides necessary clarity for the business to move forward. The publisher apologized for historical wrongdoing, accepted responsibility, and paid appropriate compensation.

Notably, Prince Harry became the first senior member of the British royal family to give evidence on a witness stand in more than 130 years when he appeared in court in June. MGN’s lawyer, Andrew Green, subjected the royal to detailed questioning, exploring the specifics of his claims and occasionally challenging him on his written statement.

The legal action against MGN is one of several cases brought by the Duke of Sussex against major UK newspaper publishers, including Rupert Murdoch’s News Group Newspapers (NGN) and Daily Mail publishers Associated Newspapers Limited. NGN publishes the Sun and formerly produced News of the World, which was shut down in 2011 due to its own phone-hacking scandal.

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