Prince Harry handed historic win in phone hacking lawsuit as Piers Morgan rages!

London, UK - A UK judge ruled on Friday that Prince Harry was a victim of phone hacking by journalists working for Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN), and awarded the royal some $180,000 in damages.

Prince Harry was the victim of phone hacking by Mirror Group Newspapers journalists, a UK judged has ruled.
Prince Harry was the victim of phone hacking by Mirror Group Newspapers journalists, a UK judged has ruled.  © REUTERS

The decision is one in a number of legal cases brought by Harry against British media, with which the Duke of Sussex has long had a turbulent relationship.

High Court Justice Timothy Fancourt ruled in favor of Harry in 15 of the 33 sample articles that the prince submitted as evidence in his lawsuit against MGN, which publishes the Mirror, Sunday Mirror, and Sunday People.

He concluded that the newspapers carried out "extensive" phone hacking of celebrities between 2006 and 2011, even when a public inquiry into the conduct of the British press was ongoing.

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Fancourt said Harry's personal phone had been targeted between 2003 and 2009 and that the 15 articles were "the product of phone hacking... or the product of other unlawful information gathering".

"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 said.

Prince Harry reacts to "vindicating" ruling

TV host Piers Morgan was told about the use of phone hacking when he was the editor of the Mirror from 1995 to 2004.
TV host Piers Morgan was told about the use of phone hacking when he was the editor of the Mirror from 1995 to 2004.  © REUTERS

Prince Harry said in a statement read outside court by his lawyer that the ruling was "vindicating and affirming".

"I've been told that slaying dragons will get you burned," he added. "But in light of today's victory and the importance of doing what is needed for a free and honest press, it's a worthwhile price to pay. The mission continues."

Harry became the first British royal in over a century to take to the witness stand when he gave evidence in the trial, accusing MGN of "industrial scale" phone hacking during emotional testimony in which he relived upsetting episodes of his life.

The prince argued he had been the victim of relentless and distressing media intrusion virtually his entire life. Harry holds the media responsible for the death of his mother, Princess Diana, in a 1997 Paris car crash while she was being pursued by paparazzi.

He stepped down from royal duties in early 2020 for a life in California with his wife, Meghan Markle, in part for privacy reasons.

Piers Morgan slams Prince Harry

Friday's ruling concluded that senior MGN executives had "turned a blind eye" to phone hacking and blagging, in which journalists or private investigators obtain information by impersonation.

It renews scrutiny of TV host Piers Morgan, who edited the Mirror from 1995 to 2004 and has long denied any knowledge of phone hacking.

Justice Fancourt said he had accepted evidence that Morgan had been told about its use and noted that "no evidence was called by MGN to contradict it".

Morgan on Friday again rejected any suggestion that he either personally hacked into phones or directed anyone to do so, calling Harry "ruthless, greedy, and hypocritical."

Cover photo: REUTERS

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