- Trial The Daily Mirror apologizes to Prince Harry for spying on him and points to the royal family as the source of information about him
It was time to testify. Prince Harry is finally preparing to step into the judicial ring in his fight against the British tabloid press. No more waiting, delays, and frustrating legal hurdles to speak in court. Barring last-minute unforeseen events, the Duke of Sussex will testify under oath and in person at the High Court of England and Wales, the neo-Gothic building of the Royal Courts of Justice in London.
He is summoned early on Monday, June 5 and his testimony against the Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) could begin that same afternoon or on Tuesday morning, once the arguments of the lawyers of both parties conclude. Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, is not expected to accompany her husband on this new return to the United Kingdom, the third in three months.
The case against the publisher of the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror and The People tabloids, as well as the group's digital publications, is the first to reach trial of the civil lawsuits against media outlets faced by the young son of Charles III and the missing Lady Di.
In preliminary stages, the lawsuit for mobile phone hacking and other forms of crime deployed by external editors and collaborators, whether private investigators or photographers, to obtain private information against News Corporation and its leading newspaper in the sector, The Sun, which Harry joined in 2019, continues. Still pending, in addition, the lawsuit he launched last year against the holding company of the Mail publications in coordination with personalities as much or more famous, including Elton John.
The common denominator of all the cases is the Duke's refusal to accept apologies and compensation before his allegations of "habitual and extensive" illegality in the competitive tabloid sector are settled in oral trials. He does not want to follow the example of his brother William, who reached an out-of-court settlement with Rupert Murdoch's group in exchange for keeping silent about the excesses of The Sun and the now closed News of The World, Harry reveals in legal documents. It is speculated that the compensation charged by the future king exceeds one million euros.
The case against the Mirror focuses on 33 of 147 articles that the duke suspects contain information obtained by illegal methods. They cover a limited time range – from 1996 to 2009 – and deal with various personal issues and scandals revealed by the media since his childhood, from the use of cannabis and cocaine to romantic relationships that came to nothing or disputes between siblings and the relationship with their mother.
Harry will now have to answer publicly in court for the same episodes, in defense of his accusations and in response to questioning by MGN's lawyer and sporadic questions from Judge Timothy Fancourt.
MGN admitted to hacking mobile phones in 2015 - and publicly apologized to his victims - but denies that the prince was in his target and only acknowledges having hired on one occasion a private detective who used criminal techniques to discover him in a London nightclub.
There are no known precedents in the twentieth century of a member of the royal family occupying the witness dock. Queen Elizabeth has blocked her heir, Charles, from testifying in the criminal trial of Diana's butler, Paul Burrell, who was accused of stealing belongings from the late Princess of Wales. A sudden memory of the now defunct monarch sank the case against the veteran palace employee, in 2002. That same year, Princess Anne briefly stepped foot in a courtroom and pleaded guilty to allowing her bull terrier dog to bite two children. He was fined about 500 euros for the crime.
- Prince Harry
- United Kingdom
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