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Harry was ‘prime target’ for phone-hacking, prince’s lawyer tells court | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #hacker


LONDON, June 28 (Reuters) – Prince Harry was a “prime
target” for the tabloid press and must have been a victim of
phone-hacking, his lawyer told London’s High Court on Wednesday
as the trial in the British royal’s lawsuit against a newspaper
publisher nears its end.

The prince and around 100 others are suing Mirror Group
Newspapers (MGN), the publisher of the Daily Mirror, Sunday
Mirror and Sunday People, over allegations of phone-hacking and
unlawful information gathering between 1991 and 2011.

They claim senior editors and executives at MGN knew about
and approved of the wrongdoing. MGN, owned by Reach, is
fighting the lawsuit and says there is no evidence for the
accusations.

The claimants’ lawyer, David Sherborne, told the court on
Wednesday that the case against MGN was “inferential”, stressing
that phone-hacking and other unlawful information gathering was
a covert practice.

But, he added, the court could find that Harry was a victim
of phone-hacking because of the prevalence of the practice at
MGN newspapers and the level of press interest in the prince.

“The newspapers regarded him as a prime target, perhaps one
of the most prime targets, in the sense of royal stories drive
newspaper sales,” Sherborne said.

‘PLAINLY IMPLAUSIBLE’

MGN has previously admitted its titles were involved in
unlawful information gathering and has settled more than 600
claims, but says there is no evidence Harry’s phone was hacked.

It argues that some of the personal information about Harry
in stories cited during the case had come from, or with the
consent of, senior Buckingham Palace aides.

MGN’s lawyer Andrew Green said in court filings that it was
“highly unlikely” MGN would have targeted Harry, particularly
after the 2006 arrest of the then-royal editor of Rupert
Murdoch’s News of the World tabloid and a private investigator
for accessing royal aides’ voicemails.

However, Sherborne said the idea that MGN would not have
“used every opportunity to obtain stories … is plainly
implausible and they had the means to do so”.

On Tuesday, Sherborne argued that MGN’s failure to call its
former employees, such as former Daily Mirror editor Piers
Morgan, to give evidence was a fatal blow to its defence.

Morgan has always denied any knowledge of or involvement in
wrongdoing and said, after the trial started, that he would not
“take lectures on privacy invasion from Prince Harry”.

Harry, the Duke of Sussex, became the first senior royal to
give evidence in court for 130 years when he appeared this month
for a day-and-a-half of questioning in the witness box.

The fifth-in-line to the throne said he believed phone-
hacking took place on an industrial scale at MGN’s titles.

MGN’s lawyer Green argued in court filings that Harry’s
“undoubtedly fair resentment about his treatment by British and
international media for many years” had been channelled into his
legal action, which he said was not for compensation but part of
his “campaign to ‘reform’ the British press”.

He added that Harry’s lawsuit against MGN was “wildly
overstated and substantially baseless”.

At the start of the trial in May, MGN admitted that on one
occasion a private investigator had been engaged to unlawfully
gather evidence about Harry.

However, it said he should receive no more than 500 pounds
in damages for that incident.

Green is expected to begin making MGN’s closing arguments on
Wednesday afternoon, with the trial due to conclude on Friday.
(Reporting by Sam Tobin; Editing by Alex Richardson)

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