Prince Harry to tabloid lawyer: ‘No one wants to be hacked’

Prince Harry has denied that his phone was not hacked by reporters from Mirror Group Newspapers due to a lack of evidence


BRIAN MELLEY Associated Press

Jun 7, 2023 10:26 am ET

• 4 min reading

LONDON – Prince Harry entered a London courtroom on a mission to prove the editor of the Daily Mirror tabloid had hacked his phone and been snooping unlawfully on his life.

He left the witness stand Wednesday after showing he was extremely suspicious of the way Mirror Group Newspapers obtained information for stories about him, but without providing phone records or much other evidence to support his hacking allegations.

“I believe that phone hacking was taking place on an industrial scale in at least three newspapers at this point,” the Duke of Sussex said in his second day testimony before the London High Court. “There is no doubt about that.”

Phone hacking is at the heart of his case against the Mirror Group and two related lawsuits against other British tabloid publishers who he says have encroached on his privacy by tapping emails and using other illegal methods to find out about the smallest recounting details of his life, which has caused him great emotional turmoil.

Harry is the first senior member of the royal family to testify in court in over 130 years, and his risky gamble in taking his cases to court is unprecedented in modern times. Alongside a desire to hold newspapers accountable for a “destructive” role in his life and to cover up the hacking scandal, the pursuit also demonstrates the seriousness of his larger mission to reform the press.

“Once I found out what the cover-up is, I want to see my MGN claim through to the end so people can really understand what happened,” he testified.

During cross-examination, Andrew Green, lawyer for the Mirror Group, urged the prince to explain which elements of the article were hacked and how he could prove it without giving call details.

Harry continued to insist that parts of certain stories were suspect and said Green should consult the reporters who wrote the articles about their actions. He said reporters used burner phones and destroyed recordings.

Green, who has claimed Harry’s phone wasn’t hacked, asked the witness if he would be relieved or upset if the judge came to the same conclusion.

“To make a decision against me… given that the Mirror Group admitted to hacking, it would feel like an injustice,” Harry replied.

“So you want your phone hacked?” Green said.

“No one wants their phone hacked,” Harry replied.

Harry’s distrust of the press runs deep. He not only questioned whether uncredited sources were genuine, but also whether individuals cited by name actually said the things attributed to them.

More than once, he said that seeing something in print attributed to someone “doesn’t mean it’s true,” and that false information was added to the stories “to throw people like me off balance.” “.

Green asked if he really believed journalists were stupid enough to risk being caught hacking phones after a News of the World reporter and a private investigator were jailed for such activities in 2007.

“I think the risk is worth the reward for her,” Harry replied.

Green has apologized for the one instance in which Mirror Group admitted hiring a private investigator to dig up dirt on Harry, although that was not among the allegations he had made. The Mirror Group denies or does not admit his other allegations.

Harry, the 38-year-old younger son of King Charles III, is the first senior British king since an ancestor, the future King Edward VII, testified in a trial over a gambling scandal in 1891.

Harry said the royal family avoided legal entanglements to avoid being put on the witness stand.

His case dates from 1996 to 2011 – a time when it later emerged that phone hacking by tabloid journalists was rampant. The scandal led to revelations of more intrusive methods such as phone tapping, home wiretapping and the use of deception to obtain flight information and medical records.

Harry’s anger at the British press runs through his memoir, Spare. He blames paparazzi for the car crash that killed his mother and said UK press intrusion, including allegedly racist articles, prompted him and his wife Meghan to flee to the US in 2020 and leave royal life behind .

The Mirror Group has paid more than £100m ($125m) to settle hundreds of wrongful information gathering lawsuits and released an apology to victims of phone hacking in 2015.