Prince Harry and Mirror publisher settle remaining parts of hacking claim

Prince Harry Duke of Sussex Mar2023
(Image: PA)

Prince Harry and the publisher of the Daily Mirror newspaper have settled the remainder of his hacking claim against them.

It follows a High Court judge’s ruling in December that phone hacking by Mirror Group Newspapers was carried out from 1996 to 2011, and was “widespread and habitual” from 1998.

Judge Timothy Fancourt also said that phone hacking continued “to some extent” during the Leveson Inquiry into media standards in 2011 and 2012, and concluded that Harry‘s phone was hacked “to a modest extent” by MGN – awarding him £140,600 in damages.

At a hearing to determine costs on Friday, Harry’s lawyer David Sherborne said the publisher had now accepted it would pay “a substantial additional sum” by way of damages and the duke’s legal costs.

Prince Harry took the publishers of the Mirror to court. Pic: Sina Schuldt/picture-alliance/dpa/AP
(Image: Sina Schuldt/picture-alliance/dpa/AP)

 

In a statement read on behalf of Prince Harry, Mr Sherborne said outside court: “Everything we said was happening at Mirror Group was in fact happening, and indeed far worse as the court ruled in its extremely damning judgment.

“As the court said this morning we have uncovered and proved the shockingly dishonest way in which the Mirror acted for so many years and then sought to conceal the truth.

“In light of all this, we call again for the authorities to uphold the rule of law and to prove that no one is above it.”

Piers Morgan singled out

He singled out former Mirror editor Piers Morgan, adding: “That includes Mr Morgan, who as editor, knew perfectly well what was going on, as the Judge held.

“Even his own employer realised it simply could not call him as a witness of truth. His contempt for the court’s ruling and his continued attacks ever since demonstrate why it was so important to obtain a clear and detailed judgment.”

The statement finished by saying the duke’s “mission continues”. “I believe in the positive change it will bring for all of us. It is the very reason why I started this, and why I will continue to see it through to the end,” it added.

During the costs hearing, Mr Sherborne said the publisher would make an interim payment of £400,000.

A MGN spokesperson said in a statement: “We are pleased to have reached this agreement, which gives our business further clarity to move forward from events that took place many years ago and for which we have apologised.”

Read more:
Key findings in the Harry v MGN judgment

Harry, who made a surprise appearance at the NFL Honours in Las Vegas on Thursday night after flying to the UK earlier in the week following the King’s cancer diagnosis, was not in court for the hearing.

His case against the publisher was “proved in part” during a privacy trial last year, with 15 of the 33 articles presented in court found to be the product of phone hacking or other unlawful information gathering.

However, a further 115 articles in his claim could have led to a further trial had a settlement not been reached.

Former Coronation Street actress Nikki Sanderson leaves the Rolls building

 

Mirror Group and other claimants forced to pay costs

Harry’s case was heard alongside similar claims brought by actor Michael Turner, who is known professionally as Michael Le Vell and is most famous for playing Kevin Webster in Coronation Street, Hollyoaks and former Coronation Street actress Nikki Sanderson, and Fiona Wightman, the ex-wife of comedian Paul Whitehouse.

Claims brought by Ms Sanderson and Ms Wightman were dismissed by the judge because they were made too late, despite the judge finding that some of their complaints were proved.

As well as the “representative” claims brought by the duke and the three others, the trial last year also heard “generic” evidence about wider alleged wrongdoing at MGN.

During Friday’s hearing, Mr Justice Fancourt said the publisher should pay so-called “generic” legal costs to those currently involved in the legal action against MGN.

“On the generic issues, there can be little doubt that the claimants were successful,” he said. “In this unusual case, justice is only done by awarding the claimants their costs of the generic issues.”

Michael Turner, known professionally as Michael Le Vell, arrives for the phone hacking trial against Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN). over alleged unlawful information gathering at its titles

 

The final figure of costs is yet to be assessed, but the High Court in London heard the group of people who sued the publisher were currently seeking payment of around £1.9 million from MGN towards the legal costs of bringing those allegations to court.

Ms Sanderson and Ms Wightman should pay MGN the legal costs of defending their individual claims, the judge ruled on Friday, while Mr Turner should pay MGN’s costs of responding to his claim from the date of March 5 2022, after an offer was made.

Source:  Sky News news.sky.com

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