As it happenedended1683913445

Prince Harry trial – latest: Phone hacking claim looks at 147 articles on Duke of Sussex

Third day of Duke of Sussex’s trial against Mirror publisher is underway

Andy Gregory,Maryam Zakir-Hussain
Friday 12 May 2023 18:44 BST
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Piers Morgan says he refuses to take ‘lectures on privacy’ from Prince Harry

As the third day of Prince Harry’s hearing against the Mirror Group Newspapers (MGM) resumed today, the court heard that there are 147 articles on the Duke of Sussex involved.

Discussing Harry’s case, his lawyer David Sherborne said out of the 147 articles, 33 are being examined in the trial - in his claim.

He said: “The Duke of Sussex, one of the most prominently covered individuals by the defendant’s titles... [MGN]’s case is throughout the entire period... there was only one occasion of unlawful information gathering.”

In written submissions, Mr Sherborne said the duke’s claim covered the period 1995 to 2011 and is “significant not just in terms of the span but also the range of activities”.

The barrister previously alleged that those responsible for management and finances of the company “were well aware of what was going on”.

The claims brought forward by four individuals, including Harry, include phone hacking, securing information through deception - also known as “blagging” - and hiring private investigators for unlawful activities.

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Unlawful information gathering steep in ‘flood of illegality’ across three newspapers, court hears

David Sherborne, for the people bringing claims, said unlawful information gathering was on an “industrial scale carried out across three newspapers over a period of about 20 years or so” amid a “flood of illegality”.

Discussing Harry’s case, Mr Sherborne said that there was a total of 147 articles - with 33 being examined in the trial - in his claim.

He continued: “The Duke of Sussex, one of the most prominently covered individuals by the defendant’s titles... [MGN]’s case is throughout the entire period... there was only one occasion of unlawful information gathering.”

In written submissions, Mr Sherborne said the duke’s claim covered the period 1995 to 2011 and is “significant not just in terms of the span but also the range of activities”.

The barrister previously alleged that those responsible for management and finances of the company “were well aware of what was going on”.

He told the court: “We say the case goes higher than just the journalists.

“The condoning of these activities meant these journalists were able to continue them at this widespread level.”

“At all levels, the defendant’s organisation was concealing unlawful activity because it was well aware of how damaging it was,” he added.

Mr Sherborne also said MGN had deleted or destroyed “masses of documents, including emails relating to the period of these activities, despite the complaints of wrongdoing”.

The claims brought by the four individuals, including the duke, are being heard in the seven-week trial as “representative” cases of the types of allegations facing the publisher.

Harry, along with former Coronation Street actress Nikki Sanderson, Mr Turner - known professionally as Michael Le Vell - and comedian Paul Whitehouse’s ex-wife Fiona Wightman are expected to give evidence in the trial before Mr Justice Fancourt.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain12 May 2023 15:31
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Good morning and thanks for joining us on the blog, where we’ll be publishing live updates on the second day of the privacy trial brought by Prince Harry and a host of others against Mirror Group Newspapers.

Andy Gregory11 May 2023 08:50
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What happened on the first day of the trial?

Unlawful information gathering by journalists employed by the Daily Mirror‘s publisher was “habitual and widespread” amid a “flood of illegality”, the High Court heard on the first day of the privacy trial.

As well as Prince Harry, Coronation Street actors Nikki Sanderson and Michael Turner, known professionally as Michael Le Vell, and comedian Paul Whitehouse’s ex-wife Fiona Wightman are expected to give evidence during the seven-week trial.

Claims brought by four individuals are being heard in a trial as “representative” cases of the types of allegations facing the publisher – including voicemail interception, securing information through deception and hiring private investigators for unlawful activities.

MGN – publisher of titles including The Mirror, Sunday Mirror and Sunday People – is contesting the cases and has said there is “no evidence, or no sufficient evidence, of voicemail interception in any of these four claims”.

At the start of the trial on Wednesday, barrister David Sherborne, for the four people in the trial, said that the case featured unlawful activities on an “industrial scale carried out across three newspapers over a period of about 20 years or so”.

Mr Sherborne told a hearing in London: “It was a flood of illegality. But worse still, this flood was being authorised and approved of by senior executives.”

Andy Gregory11 May 2023 08:56
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Piers Morgan says he has ‘never told anybody to hack a phone'

Piers Morgan insisted he has “never told anybody to hack a phone” as he described the unlawful practice “completely wrong”.

The broadcaster, who was editor of the Daily Mirror between 1995 and 2004, told BBC Two’s Amol Rajan Interviews: “I think phone hacking is completely wrong and shouldn’t have been happening and it was lazy journalists being lazy.”

He added: “There’s no evidence I knew anything about any of this… I never told anybody to hack a phone.”

Asked about being seen as a hands-on editor, Morgan said: “I didn’t [know about hacking]. So I don’t care whether it stretches people’s credulity or not.”

Piers Morgan: I’ve never told anybody to hack a phone

The 58-year-old former Good Morning Britain (GMB) presenter did admit he enjoys stirring up controversy.

Andy Gregory11 May 2023 09:01
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Piers Morgan hits back at Prince Harry over privacy allegations

Piers Morgan said he was “not going to take lectures on privacy invasion” from Prince Harry, as he was intercepted by ITV journalists on the first day of the trial brought against his former employer over alleged unlawful information gathering.

Asked whether he would take the publisher’s lead in apologising to the Duke of Sussex, Morgan – who edited The Mirror between 1995 and 2004 – said: “All I am going to say is I am not going to take lectures on privacy invasion from Prince Harry, somebody who has spent the last three years ruthlessly and cynically invading the royal family’s privacy for vast commercial gain and told a pack of lies about them.

“So I suggest he gets out of court and apologises to his family for the disgraceful invasion of privacy that he’s been purporting.”

Piers Morgan says he refuses to take ‘lectures on privacy’ from Prince Harry
Andy Gregory11 May 2023 09:11
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Mirror publisher apologises ‘unreservedly’ to Prince Harry over private investigator

The publisher of the Daily Mirror apologised “unreservedly” to Prince Harry for an instance of unlawful information-gathering, at the start of the trial into alleged phone-hacking at its titles, my colleague Joe Middleton reports.

In a written submission, it was alleged that Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) had spent millions on private investigators to keep track of celebrities, and that the company had targeted Harry’s parents, the then Prince and Princess of Wales.

MGN said in a written submission that it “unreservedly apologises” to the duke for one instance of unlawful information-gathering and accepted that he was entitled to “appropriate compensation”.

Andrew Green KC, representing MGN, said a private investigator was instructed by an MGN journalist at the Sunday People to unlawfully gather information about the prince’s activities at the Chinawhite nightclub in February 2004.

Aside from this instance, MGN is contesting the claims, saying that voicemail interception was denied in the trial cases, including Harry’s, and arguing that some of the claims have been brought too late.

Mirror publisher apologises to Prince Harry at the start of phone-hacking trial

Duke of Sussex and celebrities bringing claims against MGN amid allegations millions was spent snooping on Charles and Diana among others

Andy Gregory11 May 2023 09:14
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Coronation Street actor says colleagues believed he was tabloid ‘mole’

Coronation Street star Michael Turner was accused by fellow cast members of being “a mole” amid alleged phone hacking by journalists, the High Court was told.

Lawyers for the actor, who has appeared in the role of Kevin Webster since 1983, said that between 1991 and 2011 he was of “considerable interest” to MGN due to his career and his 2011 arrest for suspected rape, for which he was later found not guilty.

Mr Turner was also an actors’ informal “union rep”, which meant he was “privy to private information about his Coronation Street co-stars”, his legal team said in a court document.

The actor claims it is “likely” voicemail messages he left on an associate’s phone were “unlawfully accessed and listened to by MGN journalists”.

His barrister, David Sherborne, said Mr Turner had set out the “enormous” and “long-lasting” impact of these alleged activities “explaining that Coronation Street cast members accused him of being a mole due to his position as union rep, which he was ‘absolutely devastated’ by”.

“He also became extremely paranoid and blamed people close to him for stories which were public, even abandoning his local pub as a result,” the lawyer said. “He is ‘shocked and horrified’ by MGN’s targeting of him for over 15 years.” Tom Pilgrim has the full report:

Actor accused of being ‘mole’ by Coronation Street cast, hacking trial told

Michael Turner, known professionally as Michael Le Vell, has played Kevin Webster in the soap for 40 years

Andy Gregory11 May 2023 09:20
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Opinion | Harry vs Piers is the classic tale of the prince vs the troll

Our sketch writer Tom Peck has given his initial take on the trial from the benches of the High Court:

It says Various v Mirror Group Newspapers above the door of court 15 of the Rolls Building, but what will go on over the next seven weeks will be going by a catchier moniker: Harry vs Piers. The prince and the troll.

Both men were ghosts at what will be another feast for the lawyers when it began on Wednesday morning down at the High Court. One of them, Prince Harry, will certainly turn up eventually. He’s scheduled to testify three weeks from now; the first time a senior royal has done so in any significant way in modern times.

Morgan may not make it at all. He has no formal reason to, but as Prince Harry’s barrister went through the painful case against Mirror Group Newspapers it was not hard to visualise how its erstwhile editor might be looking had he made it down: just imagine a slightly wobblier-jowled version of the gnashing teeth emoji.

Harry vs Piers is the classic tale of the prince vs the troll | Tom Peck

You don’t need to have suffered the burdens of fame to know that it might not be a moral outrage to object to illegal and frightening intrusions into your private life – even if you were planning to put it all on Instagram anyway, writes Tom Peck

Andy Gregory11 May 2023 09:34
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Prince Harry blames Mirror group for Chelsy Davy breakup

Prince Harry has blamed the allegedly unlawful information gathering activities carried out at the Mirror group for his break-up with Chelsy Davy, the High Court heard yesterday.

Harry’s solicitor David Sherbone told the court that illicit press intrusion caused “great challenges” in his relationship with Davy, who he dated on-and-off from 2004 until 2009, before she ultimately decided that “a royal life was not for her” as a result of this alleged harassment.

In court documents, Sherbone told the high court Harry “became immediately suspicious of anyone named in stories about him” and felt he couldn’t trust anybody.

“It also caused great challenges in his relationship with his ex-girlfriend Chelsy Davy and made him fear for his and her safety,” the solicitor added.

My colleague Maanya Sachdeva has the full report:

Prince Harry blames Mirror group for Chelsy Davy breakup

Harry dated Davy on-and-off from 2004 until 2009

Andy Gregory11 May 2023 09:51
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A timeline of Prince Harry’s legal battles

The legal battle with Mirror Group Newspapers is just one of several in which the Duke of Sussex has been involved in recent years.

In the below article, Jess Glass provides a timeline of the actions brought against the Splash News and Picture Agency, the Home Office, and the publishers of the Daily Mail, Sun and Daily Mirror:

Phone hacking and Home Office: What legal claims has Prince Harry been involved in?

Harry is involved in a number of legal actions, including a trial against Mirror Group Newspapers which restarts today

Andy Gregory11 May 2023 10:05

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