In his continuing campaign to bring the press to account for phone hacking, the Duke of Sussex may succeed where Leveson’s inquiry failed
In its defence of the civil court action brought by Prince Harry, Mirror Group Newspapers argued to the death that there was not a shred of evidence to support the Duke of Sussex’s claims of a lifetime of illegal information gathering and phone hacking. “Zilch, zero, nil, de nada, niente, nothing,” Andrew Green KC, the newspapers’ barrister, insisted in summing up. Piers Morgan, Mirror editor for much of the period in question, reiterated that denial – and took the opportunity to double down on his vindictive and blatantly self-serving assault on Harry’s reputation – in a prepared statement for the press on his doorstep on Friday. The damning 386-page judgment of Mr Justice Fancourt, published earlier that morning, tells a very different story, however.
In supporting Harry’s claims, and awarding him £140,600 in damages, it provides an exhaustive catalogue of evidence that “extensive and habitual” unlawful practices went on over a longer period at the Mirror than previously established; that the use of off-the-books private investigators and blaggers and hackers to capture personal details of Harry and his circle – and scores of other high-profile targets – was endemic at the Mirror’s three national titles from 1998 to 2011.
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