Prince Harry won his phone hacking case against Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) Friday, a landmark. decision when it comes to the history of the tabloid press in Britain.
Judge Timothy Fancourt ruled that journalists and private investigators employed by tabloid newspaper The Daily Mirror hacked the prince’s phone and intruded on his privacy by way of spying on him unlawfully.
“Today is a great day for truth, as well as accountability,” Harry said in a statement read by his lawyer outside court. “I’ve 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.”
“The mission continues,” he added.
Prince Harry, along with 100 others, sued MGN and the Sunday People tabloids in 2019, accusing them of knowingly engaging in phone hacking and illegal deception on an “industrial scale” between 1991 and 2011.
The other prosecutors in the case include actors, sports stars, celebrities and others with connections.
The alienated younger son of King Charles III was seeking 440,000 pounds – or $560,000 – in damages.
Harry was selected as one of four test cases for the trial, which began last May.
In June, the Duke of Sussex appeared in court alleging the tabloids employed journalists to spy on him, including eavesdropping on voicemails and hiring private investigators to look into him, his family and other associates.
MGN, which has already paid more than $127 million in other phone hacking lawsuits, denied any wrongdoing in Prince Harry’s case. The group argued they used “legitimate” reporting methods to get information on the prince.
The judge agreed with Harry that phone hacking was “widespread and habitual” at MGN. In his 386-page ruling handed down, he said Fancourt said it was apparent that executives at the papers covered it up.
Harry was awarded 140,000 pounds – or $180,000 – in damages in the case for his distress.
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