Prince Harry’s Phone Was Extensively Hacked By Tabloid, UK High Court Rules
The UK High Court has ruled that the Duke of Sussex, Prince Harry, was subjected to ‘extensive’ phone hacking by Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) between 2006 and 2011, CNN reported.
Justice Fancourt awarded Prince Harry Pound 140,600 (USD 179,000) after ruling that 15 stories published by MGN about him utilised unlawful information gathering methods, including voicemail hacking and the use of private investigators.
While 33 articles were initially considered, the judge concluded that phone hacking was not the sole journalistic tool used during that period, and Prince Harry’s claims related to the other 18 articles did not withstand careful analysis, CNN reported.
Prince Harry, suing MGN alongside three other claimants, called the ruling “a great day for truth, as well as accountability.”
His statement, read by his lawyer David Sherborne outside the London court, emphasized that the court found “unlawful and criminal activities” occurred across all three MGN newspaper titles–The Mirror, The Sunday Mirror, and The People–for over a decade.
“The court has ruled that unlawful and criminal activities were carried out at all three of Mirror Group’s newspaper titles (The Mirror, The Sunday Mirror and The People) on a habitual and widespread basis for more than a decade,” the 39-year-old royal said.
The Duke urged regulatory bodies, including the Metropolitan Police, to investigate and bring charges against MGN and those involved in breaking the law. He emphasised the need for a free and honest press, stating that anything to the contrary poisons the profession.
Prince Harry also appealed to the financial regulator, the Metropolitan Police and prosecuting authorities to “do their duty for the British public and investigate bringing charges against the company and those who have broken the law.”
He also called for a “free and honest press,” in the UK and globally, asserting that “anything else is poisoning the well of a profession we all depend on.”
He added, “Today’s ruling is vindicating and affirming. I’ve been told that slaying dragons will get you burned. But in light of today’s victory and the importance of doing what is needed for a free and honest press – it’s a worthwhile price to pay. The mission continues.”
The prince’s legal team said that he was unable to present his statement in person due to the “short notice” given by the court.
The judgement also revealed that MGN began using phone hacking in 1996, and the practice remained extensive from 2006 to 2011. However, the prince’s phone “was only hacked to a modest extent” during that period, according to the judge’s summary.
MGN welcomed the judgement, said an MGN spokesperson, acknowledging historical wrongdoing, offering unreserved apologies, taking full responsibility, and paying appropriate compensation.
“Where historical wrongdoing took place, we apologise unreservedly, have taken full responsibility and paid appropriate compensation,” the spokesperson added.
Prince Harry’s legal team noted that he was unable to present his statement in person due to short notice.
This case marks Prince Harry as the first senior member of the British royal family to give evidence on a witness stand in over 130 years. In June, he detailed the distress caused by press coverage during his youth, emphasizing the destructive role played by MGN articles in his adolescence.
The legal battle is one of several initiated by Prince Harry against major UK newspaper publishers, including Rupert Murdoch’s News Group Newspapers and Daily Mail publisher Associated Newspapers Limited, highlighting his commitment to addressing media practices that he views as intrusive and harmful. (ANI)
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