'Momentous Win' for Harry in Phone Hacking Case

Judge awards him $180K damages against Mirror Group Newspapers
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 15, 2023 6:54 AM CST
Prince Harry Awarded $180K in Phone Hacking Case
Prince Harry leaves the High Court after giving evidence in London on June 6, 2023.   (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali, File)

Prince Harry has scored a partial—but important—victory in one of his legal battles against British tabloids. Justice Timothy Fancourt at the High Court in London ruled Friday that there had been "extensive" phone hacking at Mirror Group Newspapers and awarded Harry, the Duke of Sussex, $180,000 in damages, the BBC reports. "I found that 15 out of the 33 articles that were tried were the product of phone hacking of his mobile phone or the mobile phones of his associates, or the product of other unlawful information-gathering," Fancourt said. "I consider that his phone was only hacked to a modest extent and that this was probably carefully controlled by certain people at each newspaper," Fancourt added.

Fancourt said the hacking of Harry's phone happened between 2003 and 2009, the date of the last article he examined. He said execs at the newspaper group, publisher of the Daily Mirror, were aware that hacking of voicemails was widespread but failed to stop it, the AP reports. "Instead of doing so, they turned a blind eye to what was going on and positively concealed it," he said. "Had the illegal conduct been stopped, the misuse of the duke's private information would have ended much sooner." In June, Harry testified in the case, saying journalists including former Mirror editor Piers Morgan should be held "accountable for their vile and entirely unjustified behavior."

Harry's lawyers said he was unable to be present at the court because of short notice, but one of them read out a statement he had prepared on the "momentous win." "Today is a great day for truth, as well as accountability," Harry said in the statement, per the Guardian, noting that the court "ruled that unlawful and criminal activities were carried out" at Mirror Group newspapers "on a habitual and widespread basis" for more than a decade. He added: "This case is not just about hacking—it is about a systemic practice of unlawful and appalling behavior, followed by cover-ups and destruction of evidence, the shocking scale of which can only be revealed through these proceedings." Harry has cases pending against several other tabloids. (More Prince Harry stories.)

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