Prince Harry ‘should get no more than £500’ for hacking claims, court hears | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #hacker

  • Mirror Group Newspapers said the duke was not a victim of phone hacking 
  • It has accepted one instance of unlawfully obtaining Harry’s private information
  • KC Andrew Green suggested he was due no more than £500 for this incident 

Prince Harry should be paid no more than £500 compensation for his hacking claims against the publisher of the Mirror, the High Court heard today.

Mirror Group Newspapers said the Duke of Sussex was not a victim of phone hacking and the ‘true purpose’ of his legal claim was to further his campaign to ‘reform’ the British Press.

The publisher has accepted one instance of unlawfully obtaining Harry’s private information, at a nightclub, for which it has apologised, and today its KC Andrew Green suggested the duke was due no more than £500 in damages for this ‘isolated’ and ‘limited’ incident.

The rest of Harry’s case should be thrown out, said the barrister. He said the duke’s unique role in public life did not spare him from the burden of proving his case and the onus of doing so lies ‘squarely on him’.

The trial has been going on for seven weeks and both sides will have racked up millions of pounds in legal costs.

The newspaper group denies it ever hacked the prince, 38. Closing its case, Mr Green said it was impossible not to have enormous sympathy for the duke ‘in view of the extraordinary degree of media intrusion he has been subject to throughout his life’.

But he said being a victim of widespread media intrusion was not the same as proving the Mirror’s titles had hacked him.

Mr Green said: ‘The true purpose of this litigation appears not to be to achieve compensation for unlawful activity by MGN, but instead it forms part of the Duke of Sussex’s campaign to “reform” the British Press.’

He said some of the articles referred to were published 30 years ago. He branded the duke’s case ‘wildly overstated and substantially baseless’.

Mr Green said that in the duke’s testimony, he had ‘accepted on multiple occasions’ that supposedly private information about which he complains ‘had in fact been previously and extensively published elsewhere by other media outlets or had been placed into the public domain by palace spokespeople’.

Mr Green said there was a ‘complete absence of evidence’ the Mirror’s titles had ever phone-hacked Harry, and that his complaint ‘in reality is against general intrusion by the entire media’.

He said that despite testimony from the Sunday Mirror’s ‘designated hacker’ Dan Evans and another former journalist, Graham Johnson – both convicted hackers turned ‘whistleblowers’ – neither had suggested that they knew Harry had been a target of voicemail interception.

The KC urged the judge to reject Harry’s claim that he was hacked by the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror and The People newspapers on an industrial scale.

Mirror Group Newspapers said the Duke of Sussex (pictured with his Barrister David Sherborne) was not a victim of phone hacking and the ‘true purpose’ of his legal claim was to further his campaign to ‘reform’ the British Press

David Sherborne, representing the duke and three other claimants, told the court there was ‘enough hard evidence’ that unlawful activity such as hacking, ‘blagging’ and deception had been widespread at Mirror newspapers between 1991 and 2011.

He said illicit methods were ‘the stock in trade at these newspapers across the entire period’.

The barrister claimed MGN’s board of directors and legal department, ‘the very people whose duty it was to run this public company’, were ‘well aware’ of unlawful information gathering being widespread.

Mr Sherborne urged the judge to draw ‘adverse’ inferences from MGN’s ‘extraordinary decision’ not to call key witnesses such as former Mirror editor Piers Morgan and other journalists, which he described it as a ‘gaping hole in their case’.

The trial is due to conclude on Friday, with Mr Justice Fancourt delivering his ruling at a later date.


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