Prince Harry partially wins phone-hacking lawsuit – DW – 12/15/2023 | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #hacker

Britain’s Prince Harry on Friday gained a partial victory in his lawsuit against a newspaper publisher over allegations of phone hacking and other unlawful acts.

The High Court in London ruled that Harry was a victim of unlawful information gathering by Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN).

The judge sided with the UK royal on 15 of the 33 articles in the lawsuit and awarded him 140,000 pounds (€163,000, $179,000) in damages. The prince had sought 440,000 pounds.

The court ruled Harry has been a victim of “modest” phone-hacking and other unlawful information gathering by journalists at MGN.

Morgan: ‘I’ve never hacked a phone’

Piers Morgan, the former editor of the British tabloid Daily Mirror who now works for News Corp’s Talk TV and writes articles for its papers, knew about phone hacking at the newspaper — according to the judge.

Morgan has always denied any involvement in, or knowledge of, phone-hacking or other illegal or unlawful activity.

He said on Friday: “I’ve never hacked a phone or told anybody else to hack a phone and nobody has produced any actual evidence to prove that I did.”

Speaking outside his London home, Morgan added: “I wasn’t called as a witness… by either side in the case, nor was I asked to provide any statement. I would have very happily agreed to do either or both of those things had I been asked.”

‘I’ve never hacked a phone or told anybody else to hack a phone’ — Piers MorganImage: Yui Mok/PA Wire/picture alliance

Hacking was ‘widespread and habitual’

Justice Timothy Fancourt found that phone hacking was “widespread and habitual” at Mirror Group Newspapers over many years and private investigators “were an integral part of the system” to gather information unlawfully.

He said executives at the papers were aware of the practice and covered it up.

Harry had claimed he was targeted by MGN for 15 years from 1996 and that more than 140 stories that appeared in its papers were the result of unlawful information gathering. The trial only considered 33 of these.

The prince became the first senior royal to appear as a witness in court for 130 years at the trial in June.

The UK royal family has traditionally shied away from litigation but Harry has been outspoken in his criticism of the UK media’s tactics in obtaining exclusive stories.

The other claimants included actors, sports stars, celebrities and people who simply had a connection to high-profile figures who had stories published.

Harry calls for criminal investigation

In a statement read by his lawyer, the prince said he was happy to have won the lawsuit, calling the outcome “vindicating and affirming.”

“I’ve been told slaying dragons will get you burned. 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.”

“I respectfully call on the authorities, financial regulator and the police to do their duty, to investigate and bring charges against the Daily Mirror Group [MGN],” Harry said.

A spokesperson for MGN reacted to the ruling by saying, “gives the business the necessary clarity to move forward from events that took place many years ago.” 

“Where historical wrongdoing took place, we apologize unreservedly, have taken full responsibility and paid appropriate compensation.”

mm/rt (AFP, AP, Reuters)


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