Prince Harry Wins Partial Victory in Hacking Case Against U.K. Newspaper Group

Prince Harry Wins Partial Victory in Hacking Case Against U.K. Newspaper Group

Prince Harry received a ruling in his favor in a landmark case accusing Mirror Group Newspapers of unlawfully gathering information, a watershed victory that could potentially pave the way for other lawsuits against the press.

Judge Timothy Fancourt said in London’s High Court Friday morning that he found proof of “extensive” hacking. Harry sued the newspaper group, which includes the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror and People, over 33 articles between 1996 and 2009 that he said were obtained using illegal means.

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The judge ruled that 15 out of the 33 articles were the product of phone hacking or other illegal means. Judge Fancourt says the hacking happened to a “modest extent” between 2003 and 2009.

Prince Harry has been awarded £140,600 ($179,763) in damages, as the judge ruled that newspaper directors “turned a blind eye and positively concealed” unlawful gathering of information.

Harry gave testimony and extensive evidence in court in June, the first senior royal in modern times to do so, claiming the newspaper group’s management was aware of and approved of the actions.

The Mirror Group lawyers rejected the allegations as “entirely speculative,” the BBC reported.

Harry’s case was picked as one of four tests out of those filed by around 100 plaintiffs, including celebrities, who sued over allegations of phone-hacking and unlawful information-gathering between 1991 and 2011.

The ruling could pave the way for lawsuits by other plaintiffs and Harry’s other ongoing cases to continue. Harry has also sued News Corp’s U.K. operation, News Group Newspapers (NGN), which publishes The Sun tabloid, and Associated Newspapers (ANL), publisher of the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday.

Harry has been critical of the British tabloid press, especially in relation to the treatment of his mother Princess Diana and her death after a car crash in a Paris tunnel during a paparazzi chase in 1997. Harry’s relationship with the press has been documented in his Netflix series Harry & Meghan and his 2022 autobiography Spare.

The prince and his wife Meghan Markle stepped back from royal duties and moved to California in 2020.

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