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Hacking trial: Prince Harry claims £440,000 in damages from Mirror Group Newspapers | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #hacker

  • By Tom Symonds
  • Home Affairs correspondent

Prince Harry is claiming up to £440,000 in damages for newspaper articles published by Mirror Group Newspapers which he alleges breached his privacy.

Amounts being claimed were released on the final day of the trial examining allegations of phone hacking.

The case has been brought by Prince Harry and three others.

Prince Harry’s lawyers have highlighted 33 stories in their claim, including reports about his ex-girlfriend Chelsy Davy and his drug taking.

The duke’s lawyers initially suggested he could be awarded up to £320,000 if his case is successful in relation to the 33 stories.

In a document released later, they said he is also seeking further damages of about £120,000. This relates to allegations of unlawful information gathering by MGN publications, including over the targeting of his late mother, Diana Princess of Wales.

A barrister for MGN said this week the Duke of Sussex was only entitled to £500 for a private investigator’s attempt to get personal details about him.

The highest damages application is for a 2005 “splash” on the front page in the Daily Mirror which reported the prince’s then-girlfriend Chelsy Davy was to “dump him”.

A second article was headlined “Chelsy Is Not Happy”.

His lawyers said the story included photos of Prince Harry and Chelsy Davy taken at a distance and went into detail about the state of their relationship.

They claimed highly specific details of telephone contact between the couple were included.

Lawyers alleged a private investigator and “flight and call data blagger” in South Africa helped with details for the story.

Image caption,

Prince Harry gave evidence at a hearing in early June

A court document stated: “The article came at a difficult and vulnerable time for the Duke of Sussex, where details of his mistakes were played out so publicly.”

“Whilst the Duke of Sussex was remorseful for his actions, the article added to his embarrassment by revealing the impact on his personal relationship with Ms Davy, with humiliating details of private arguments between the couple and added to his sense of distrust and paranoia of those around him.”

The second highest award claimed, £25,000, relates to a story in the Sunday People in 2003.

It reported a disagreement between Prince Harry and the Prince of Wales over whether to meet Princess Diana’s former butler Paul Burrell who had angered the brothers by selling secrets about their mother.

Prince Harry’s lawyers said the article contained “private and sensitive information” about the disagreement.

He believed the language used mirrors voicemail messages he would have left for Prince William at the time suggesting he was the victim of phone hacking.

Prince Harry is claiming £20,000 for a Daily Mirror story in 2002 suggesting he had hosted parties where he and friends had taken cocaine and ecstasy.

‘Huge relief’

It quoted the duke as saying he “only used cannabis spliffs” and his father Charles, now King, as saying he felt “huge relief” at this comment.

The document said Prince Harry did not supply the quote and links the story to a series of payments to a tracing agency the claimants said was involved in unlawful information gathering.

Prince Harry was at Eton at the time which had a zero-tolerance drugs policy.

Claim records for articles relating to the actors Nikki Sanderson and Michael Turner have also been released.

The Coronation Street actor Ms Sanderson’s claims totalled more than £331,000 with the biggest demand for £75,000 relating to a single story about her difficult relationship with her father.

This was “heart-breaking, traumatic and humiliating” she said, suggesting information about her had been gathered illicitly.

Mr Turner is claiming more than £131,000 for stories including coverage of his trauma over being accused and cleared of sexual offences.

In the final hours of the trial the defendant’s barrister Andrew Green KC argued there was no objective evidence Prince Harry’s phone had been hacked.

He questioned whether his opponents had proved any of the claims they had made.

Prince Harry’s barrister David Sherborne criticised Mr Green for repeatedly describing private investigators who had been convicted of criminal offences as “rotters”.

Mr Sherborne said he had become “something out of a Beano comic, by describing a few rotters who did a few naughty things. That exemplifies the truly dismissive nature of the defendant’s attitude to the thousands of victims”.

Judgement in the case is not expected for months.


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