Prince Harry: It Would Be Injustice If Court Rules I'm Not Hacking Victim
LONDON - Prince Harry, the fifth-in-line to the British throne has completed more than eight hours of testimony in London's High Court, where he is suing Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN), over allegations of phone-hacking and unlawful information-gathering.
The prince, who became the first senior British royal to appear in a witness box in more than 130 years, said he would feel a sense of injustice if the court did not conclude he was a victim of MGN's titles, which include the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror, and Sunday People.
He also said the press had destroyed his relationship, ruined his adolescence, and sowed paranoia and mistrust since 1996, when he was a child. He accused MGN of engaging in phone hacking on an industrial scale and said the press had blood on its hands for its role in his mother Princess Diana's death in 1997.
Harry is one of four test cases leading a group of 100 claimants who are suing MGN over allegations of widespread unlawful behavior between 1991 and 2011. They claim senior editors and executives at MGM knew about and approved of the wrongdoing.
MGN, now owned by Reach, has previously admitted its titles were involved in phone-hacking-the illegal interception of mobile voicemails - settling more than 600 claims. However, MGN's lawyer Andrew Green has said there was no mobile phone data nor any shred of evidence to show Harry was a victim.
He argued that some of the personal information in stories published by the papers had come from, or was given with the consent of, senior Buckingham Palace aides, or was simply based on details already made public.
Harry, who stepped down from royal duties in 2020 with his American wife Meghan and moved to the United States, faces almost five hours of cross-examination on Tuesday and another three-and-a-half hours on Wednesday from Green, who quizzed him in detail over 33 newspaper articles whose details Harry claims were obtained unlawfully.
On a number of occasions, Green described the prince's allegations as "total speculation". Harry denied this and said he believed phone hacking was beyond doubt.
"If the court were to find that you were never hacked by any MGN journalist, would you be relieved or would you be disappointed?" Green asked the prince.
Harry replied: "I believe phone-hacking was on an industrial scale across at least three of the papers at the time and that is beyond doubt. To have a decision against me and any other people that come behind me with their claims, given that Mirror Group have accepted hacking, ... yes, I would feel some injustice".
The trial is expected to last seven weeks. The judge will then decide whether Harry and the other claimants have proved their case and what damages they should receive.