Prince Harry receives major win as High Court rules he can continue privacy case
Prince Harry has been told he can continue his unlawful information gathering claims against the publisher of the Daily Mail, a High Court judge ruled this morning.
The Duke of Sussex said Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL) targeted him and the people closest to him by unlawfully hacking voicemails, tapping landlines, obtaining itemized phone bills and the flight information of his then-girlfriend, Chelsy Davy.
Baroness Doreen Lawrence and Sir Elton John were also told they could continue their cases against the publisher – and they will now go to trial.
The trio are among a group of seven high-profile individuals – including David Furnish, Sadie Frost, Liz Hurley and Sir Simon Hughes – who brought legal action against ANL.
They have accused the publisher of allegedly carrying out or commissioning unlawful activities such as hiring private investigators to place listening devices inside cars, “blagging” private records and accessing and recording private phone conversations.
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At a hearing in March, they alleged that they had been victims of “abhorrent criminal activity” and “gross breaches of privacy”. The publisher “firmly” denies the allegations and attempted to get the case thrown out.
In his ruling on Friday, Mr Justice Nicklin said Associated Newspapers “has not been able to deliver a ‘knockout blow’ to the claims of any of these claimants”. He continued: “Fair resolution of any limitation defence…must await trial.”
It is unclear when the cases will proceed to trial.
At the earlier hearing, ANL asked a judge to rule in its favour without a trial, arguing the legal challenges against it were brought “far too late”.
Adrian Beltrami KC, for ANL, said the group could have used “reasonable diligence” to discover if they had a potential claim before October 2016.
The lawyer said the legal action against it had “no real prospects of succeeding” and was “barred” under a legal period of limitation.
However, lawyers for those bringing the claims said they were “thrown off the scent” and not aware of being targeted, having believed “categorical denials” from ANL over any involvement in unlawful activity.
Harry made a surprise appearance at the Royal Courts of Justice during the four-day hearing, with Sir Elton, Ms Frost and Lady Lawrence also arriving at the London court at times during the preliminary hearing.
The royal’s case against the publishers of the Daily Mail is just one of a number of lawsuits he has brought against the media recently.
Harry is also suing the publisher of The Sun newspaper alongside actor Hugh Grant. That case is scheduled to go to trial early next year.
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