Prince Harry Suffers "Major Blow" in Court Case
Team Harry suffered a major blow this week in his lawsuit against The Mirror Group.
Earlier this summer, Prince Harry became the first Royal in over 140 years to testify in court. During his day-and-a-half testimony and written 55-page witness statement, the Duke of Sussex detailed his case against The Mirror Group, who he claims unlawfully obtained information about his life and used it to fuel 144 stories in various publications. This week the court made a major decision in his phone-hacking case, and the Prince is probably not too happy about it.
On Thursday a High Court judge ruled that Prince Harry's lawsuit against The Sun's publisher can go to trial. However, allegations of phone hacking and a claim that newspaper employee's made a secret settlement with other members of Harry's family can not be part of it.
One of the biggest arguments of Rupert Murdoch's News Group Newspapers is that the entire suit should be tossed out of court due to six-year limitations. Justice Timothy Fancourt agreed on that point, noting that Harry was well aware of the statute due to previous phone hacking scandals.
However, the judge did say that Harry could proceed on other allegations, including the paper engaging in unlawful information gathering. For example, the paper hiring a private investigator to dig up dirt on him.
"There is no evidence currently before me that the duke knew before the (deadline to file a suit) that NGN had done anything other than hack his mobile phone at the News of the World," Fancourt wrote.
"Knowing or being on notice of a worthwhile claim for voicemail interception does not of itself amount to knowledge or notice of a worthwhile claim for other forms of UIG."
A spokesperson for News Group Newspapers called the ruling a "significant victory" that "substantially reduces the scope" of Harry's legal claim.
Fancourt also ruled that Harry would not be able to amend the case in terms of his allegations that family members made secret agreements with Murdoch's team, which he just recently claimed to have learned about. The publisher has denied any secret agreements exist, and the judge said that Harry didn't produce any evidence or witnesses to prove his case.