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Prince Harry phone hacking: UK tabloid's actions ruled unlawful

Prince Harry phone hacking: UK tabloid's actions ruled unlawful Photo: Prince Harry (GettyImages)

Prince Harry won a lawsuit against Mirror Group Newspapers for engaging in unlawful information gathering, including phone hacking. This victory is significant in his battle with the British tabloid media over privacy rights and press intrusion, according to The New York Times.

The London court ruled in favor of Harry, awarding him £140,600 in damages after finding evidence of phone hacking in 15 of 33 articles presented by his legal team.

The judge determined that the hacking occurred between 2004 and 2009, targeting Harry's phone.

Andrew Green, representing the Mirror Group, challenged Prince Harry to provide solid proof of phone hacking by its journalists, arguing that much of the allegedly illicitly obtained information was accessible from other sources, including royal press officers.

Harry claimed that journalists targeted him and his close associates by illegally accessing his voicemail messages and using other illicit methods over several years, causing him significant distress.

Prince Harry phone hacking: UK tabloid's actions ruled unlawfulPrince Harry (Photo: Getty Images)

Harry testified for over seven hours in the lawsuit in a London court in June. His attorney presented 147 news articles as proof, with many undergoing detailed forensic analysis during the trial.

Justice Fancourt, in a comprehensive 386-page judgment, concluded that there was sufficient evidence to link nearly half of the articles presented by Harry's legal team to phone hacking.

This lawsuit is part of several cases Harry and his wife, Meghan, have pursued against British tabloids. In his testimony, Harry discussed the negative impact of these invasions on his life and relationships. The Mirror Group, acknowledging historical wrongdoing, welcomed the judgment for providing clarity to move forward.

In a statement delivered through his attorney following the decision, 39-year-old Harry commented: "I have 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 is a worthwhile price to pay."

Media privacy disputes

Prince Harry is engaged in three lawsuits against British tabloid publishers over allegations of illicit information-gathering, including phone hacking.

This includes a case against the publishers of The Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday, and The Sun. These legal battles are part of a broader dispute Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, have with several newspapers over privacy rights, paralleling his mother Princess Diana's experiences with the press.

Harry testified that the negative press coverage about him and his family led to mistrust towards even his closest friends. In his written statement, he accused editors and journalists of having "blood on their hands" due to their invasive reporting methods and extreme lengths taken to cover stories about him and his family.

Harry's media stance

The background of this legal battle stems from Harry's long-standing issues with the British press, notably intensified by the tabloids' treatment of his late mother, Princess Diana.

His active legal stance against tabloid practices contrasts with the royal family's traditionally reserved approach to the media. The case highlights broader concerns about press ethics and privacy, with Harry's victory potentially influencing future media conduct. Another part of Harry's lawsuit against News Group Newspapers is set for trial in January.