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Prince Harry’s lawyer says Piers Morgan’s no-show at hacking trial is ‘fatal’ for Mirror publisher | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #hacker


Piers Morgan’s no-show at the Duke of Sussex’s hacking trial dealt a fatal blow to the Mirror publisher’s defence, a court was told today.

Prince Harry alleges journalists at Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) gathered private information about him by illegal tactics such as voicemail interception and “blagging”.

His lawyer, David Sherborne, said in his closing submissions that this unlawful information gathering was “habitual and widespread” across all three of the MGN titles, the Mirror, Sunday Mirror and the People, between 1991 and 2011.

He told the court on Tuesday that MGN’s failure to call former Mirror editor Mr Morgan to give evidence leaves “fatal holes” in the defence case.

Mr Morgan, who denies wrongdoing, said after the trial started that he would not “take lectures on privacy invasion from Prince Harry.”

Prince Harry leaves the High Court earlier this month

(AP)

Mr Sherborne told the court: “Rather than come and give evidence… he has chosen instead to confine his comments to outside the courtroom.”

Harry’s lawyer said the absence of Mr Morgan’s evidence “leaves enormous holes, we say fatal holes, in the defendant’s case”.

MGN argues that the allegations about Mr Morgan and his purported knowledge of phone hacking are not relevant to this case.

“Mr Morgan is a high-profile individual, and the allegations against him have generated a lot of publicity,” its lawyers stated in their closing submissions.

“However, it is not necessary for the allegations against him to be determined, and if it is necessary those matters are perfectly capable of resolution on the documentary evidence. Mr Morgan’s presence at trial would have been a disproportionate and unnecessary distraction from the issues actually before the court.”

Lawyers for MGN also argued that Harry’s legal claim is “wildly overstated and substantially baseless”, adding that he is motivated by his “campaign to reform the British press” rather than to obtain compensation.

In their written closing submissions to the High Court, MGN’s lawyers said: “This voicemail interception litigation is seemingly being used as a vehicle to seek to reform the British media today – with the Duke of Sussex referring to some articles published 30 years ago to support his campaign.

“In seeking to hold one element of the tabloid press to account for intrusion the Duke of Sussex believes he has suffered at the hands of all press, irrespective of their involvement or lack thereof in unlawful information gathering, he has advanced a claim which is wildly overstated and substantially baseless.”

MGN claims that Harry’s “undoubtedly fair resentment for his treatment by multiple different media outlets across many years has, on this occasion, been channelled into a specific cause of action and attributed to MGN.”

Referring to the potential damages that could be awarded if a judge found in Harry’s favour, MGN said that the Duke of Sussex’s valuation of over £200,000 was “grossly disproportionate given the complete absence of evidence”.

Harry’s claim against MGN is being heard alongside claims by Fiona Wightman, the ex-wife of comedian Paul Whitehouse, and the former Coronation street actors Michael Le Vell and Nikki Sanderson.

The case continues.

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