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Prince Harry phone hacking – live: Piers Morgan denies wrongdoing as judge rules Duke was Mirror victim

Duke of Sussex found to be victim of phone hacking by Mirror publisher and awarded £140,000 in damages

Holly Evans,Andy Gregory,Jane Dalton,Tara Cobham
Friday 15 December 2023 21:30 GMT
Former Mirror editor Piers Morgan responds to Prince Harry victory in privacy case

Piers Morgan has denied any wrongdoing as a High Court judge has ruled Prince Harry was the victim of phone hacking by the Mirror publisher.

Mr Justice Fancourt ruled on Friday that Mr Morgan knew about and was involved in phone hacking when he was editor of the Daily Mirror as the Duke of Sussex won damages of £140,600 against Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN).

But Mr Morgan insisted in a statement on Friday afternoon that he never hacked a phone and never told anyone to do so, before launching scathing attacks on Prince Harry, royal author Omid Scobie and former Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell.

He told reporters outside his home in west London that the “real mission” of Harry and his wife Megan Markle is not to reform the media but “to destroy the British monarchy”.

It comes after the duke accused the Mirror publisher of “vendetta journalism” in a searing attack following the ruling.

Harry’s lawyer David Sherborne said that editors such as Mr Morgan “clearly knew” about the hacking, after the judge accepted evidence that the TalkTV host had been aware of voicemail interception.

Piers Morgan gives scathing response to Prince Harry’s phone hacking victory

Mr Morgan said in a statement on Friday afternoon that he never hacked a phone and never told anyone to do so, before launching scathing attacks on Prince Harry, royal author Omid Scobie and former Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell.

Read more here:

Piers Morgan gives scathing response to Prince Harry’s phone hacking victory

Judge ruled Mr Morgan knew about and was involved in phone hacking when editor of Daily Mirror

Tara Cobham15 December 2023 16:59

Watch: Piers Morgan statement in full

Piers Morgan launched a scathing attack on Prince Harry after the Duke of Sussex won damages of £140,600 against Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) over the phone hacking scandal.

Mr Morgan said in a statement on Friday afternoon that he never hacked a phone and never told anyone to do so, before launching scathing attacks on Prince Harry, Meghan Markle, and royal author Omid Scobie.

Here is Mr Morgan’s statement in full:

Watch: Former Mirror editor Piers Morgan launches scathing attack on Prince Harry

Piers Morgan launched a scathing attack on Prince Harry after the Duke of Sussex won damages of £140,600 against Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) over the phone hacking scandal. The judge ruled at the High Court on Friday (15 December) that Mr Morgan knew about and was involved in phone hacking when he was editor of the Daily Mirror. Mr Morgan said in a statement on Friday afternoon that he never hacked a phone and never told anyone to do so, before launching scathing attacks on Prince Harry, Meghan Markle, and royal author Omid Scobie. Here is Mr Morgan’s statement in full.

Tara Cobham15 December 2023 16:58

Morgan accuses Harry of ‘greed and hypocrisy’ in scathing attack

In a scathing attack on the Duke of Sussex, Piers Morgan accused him of having a “ruthless, greedy, and hypocritical enthusiasm” for intruding on the lives of his own family.

Speaking outside his west London home on Friday, Mr Morgan continued to heavily criticise Prince Harry, referring to him by “his California tan face” and accusing him of “smearing the royal family” and wanting to “destroy the British monarchy”.

He told reporters: “Prince Harry’s outrage at media intrusion into the private lives of the royal family is only matched by his own ruthless, greedy and hypocritical enthusiasm for doing it himself.

“He talked today about the appalling behaviour of the press. But this is the guy who has repeatedly trashed his family in public for hundreds of millions of dollars even as two of its most senior and respected members were dying – his grandparents. It’s hard to imagine, frankly, more appalling behaviour than that.

“As for him saying this is a good day for truth, the duke has been repeatedly exposed in recent years as someone who wouldn’t know the truth if it slapped him in his California-tanned face. He demands accountability for the press, but refuses to accept any for himself for smearing the royal family, his own family, as a bunch of callous racists without producing a shred of proof to support those disgraceful claims.

“He also says he’s on a mission to reform the media when it’s become clear his real mission, along with his wife, is to destroy the British monarchy. And I will continue to do whatever I can to stop them.”

Tara Cobham15 December 2023 16:22

The 15 Mirror Group articles ruled to have been obtained unlawfully

Prince Harry has claimed his first major scalp in his campaign against Britain’s tabloid press, as the High Court ruled that he was a victim of phone hacking by Mirror Group Newspapers.

The Duke of Sussex won damages of £140,600 against the publisher, at whose three titles the judge ruled there had been “extensive” phone hacking between 2006 and 2011 – including during the Leveson Inquiry – and that the misuse of private investigators was an “integral part of the system”.

Mr Justice Fancourt concluded that Harry’s phone was only hacked to a modest extent and this was carefully controlled by certain people at each newspaper – but that this did happen from the end of 2003 to April 2009 – while his girlfriends and close friends were “regularly targeted”.

Andy Gregory reports:

The 15 newspaper articles about Prince Harry ruled to have been obtained unlawfully

Many of the stories involving phone hacking and other unlawful methods focus on Harry’s relationship with Chelsy Davy

Tara Cobham15 December 2023 16:10

Morgan insists he had ‘zero knowledge’ of one article that ‘may' have involved illegal activity

Piers Morgan insisted he had “zero knowledge” of the “just one” article published in his time as editor of the Daily Mirror, which “may” have involved illegal information gathering.

Speaking outside his London home, Mr Morgan said: “I had then and still have zero knowledge of how that particular story was gathered.”

Tara Cobham15 December 2023 16:02

Morgan hits out at royal author and Alastair Campbell

Piers Morgan has described Omid Scobie as a “deluded fantasist” who “lied about me in court” and Alastair Campbell as “another proven liar who spun this country into an illegal war”.

In a statement given outside his west London home on Friday, Mr Morgan said: “I know the judge appears to have believed the evidence of Omid Scobie, who lied about me in his new book and he lied about me in court, and the whole world now knows him to be a deluded fantasist. And he believed the evidence of Alastair Campbell, another proven liar who spun this country into an illegal war.”

Earlier on Friday Mr Justice Fancourt said he accepted the evidence of biographer Mr Scobie, who told the High Court that then-Daily Mirror editor Mr Morgan was told about a use of phone hacking involving voicemail interception.

During the trial earlier this year, the court was told that Mr Scobie did work experience at the Daily Mirror in spring 2002 and overheard Mr Morgan being told that information relating to Kylie Minogue and her then-boyfriend James Gooding had come from voicemails.

Piers Morgan has described Omid Scobie (pictured) as a “deluded fantasist”
Piers Morgan has described Omid Scobie (pictured) as a “deluded fantasist” (BBC Newsnight)
Tara Cobham15 December 2023 15:51

Damages awarded to reflect ‘hurt’ caused by directors ‘knowing about illegal activity’, rules judge

Mr Justice Fancourt said damages were also awarded to Prince Harry to reflect the “particular hurt” felt by the duke because two directors “knew about the illegal activity” and “positively concealed it”.

He said: “[Damages were also awarded] to reflect the particular hurt and sense of outrage that the duke feels because two directors of Trinity Mirror plc (as MGN’s parent company was formerly known), to whom the board had delegated day-to-day responsibility for such matters, knew about the illegal activity that was going on at their newspapers and could and should have put a stop to it”.

“Instead of doing so, they turned a blind eye to what was going on, and positively concealed it. Had the illegal conduct been stopped, the misuse of the duke’s private information would have ended much sooner,” the judge said.

Tara Cobham15 December 2023 15:50

Watch Morgan’s scathing statement

Former Mirror editor Piers Morgan responds to Prince Harry victory in privacy case
Sam Rkaina15 December 2023 15:39

Piers Morgan breaks silence on Prince Harry hacking win against Mirror publisher

Piers Morgan has broken his silence over Prince Harry’s hacking win against the Mirror publisher.

Mr Morgan said in a statement on Friday afternoon he never hacked a phone and never told anyone to do so, before launching scathing attacks on Prince Harry, royal author Omid Scobie and former Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell.

“I want to reiterate as I’ve consistently said for many years now - I’ve never hacked a phone nor told anybody else to hack a phone,” he told reporters. “And nobody has produced any actual evidence to prove that I did.”

Morgan said he was not called as a witness by either side of the case or asked to provide a statement, both of which he would have “very happily agreed” to do. He added that he did not “have a single conversation with any of the Mirror Group lawyers throughout the entire legal process”.

Therefore, he said: “So I wasn’t able to respond to the many false allegations that were spewed about me in court by old foes of mine with an axe to grind, most of which, inexplicably, were not even challenged in my absence by the Mirror Group counsel.”

Piers Morgan speaking to the media about the case
Piers Morgan speaking to the media about the case (PA)
Tara Cobham15 December 2023 15:31

‘Mirror Group not responsible for all unlawful activity directed at duke,’ rules judge

Mr Justice Fancourt acknowledged that the Mirror Group “was not responsible for all the unlawful activity that was directed at the duke” in his ruling at the High Court on Friday.

He said he was awarding damages to the duke where unlawful information-gathering was proved, and also to compensate him “fully for the distress that he suffered as a result of the unlawful activity directed at him and those close to him”.

“I recognise that Mirror Group was not responsible for all the unlawful activity that was directed at the duke, and that a good deal of the oppressive behaviour of the press towards the duke over the years was not unlawful at all,” the judge continued.

“Mirror Group, therefore, only played a small part in everything that the duke suffered and the award of damages on this ground is therefore modest.”

Mr Justice Fancourt acknowledged that the Mirror Group “was not responsible for all the unlawful activity that was directed at the duke” in his ruling at the High Court on Friday
Mr Justice Fancourt acknowledged that the Mirror Group “was not responsible for all the unlawful activity that was directed at the duke” in his ruling at the High Court on Friday (Judicial Office, England & Wales)
Tara Cobham15 December 2023 15:30

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