Prince Harry Awarded More Than £140,000 Pounds In Damages In Phone Hacking Lawsuit

A judge ruled that information about the Duke of Sussex was unlawfully obtained by Mirror Group Newspapers.
Prince Harry pictured leaving court in June
Prince Harry pictured leaving court in June
via Associated Press

Prince Harry has won his phone hacking lawsuit against the publisher of the Daily Mirror, and has been awarded over £140,000 pounds in the first of his several lawsuits against British tabloids to go to trial.

On Friday, Justice Timothy Fancourt in the High Court found phone hacking was “widespread and habitual” at Mirror Group Newspapers over many years and private investigators “were an integral part of the system” to gather information unlawfully.

He said executives at the papers were aware of the practice and covered it up.

Fancourt said he awarded the Duke of Sussex damages for 15 of the 33 newspaper articles in question at trial that were the result of unlawful information gathering and resulted in the misuse of the Harry’s private information.

The judge also added damages for the distress the duke suffered and a further sum for aggravated damages to “reflect the particular hurt and sense of outrage” over the fact that two directors at Trinity Mirror knew about the activity and didn’t stop it.

Prince Harry leaving the High Court after his first day of giving testimony in June 2023
Prince Harry leaving the High Court after his first day of giving testimony in June 2023
via Associated Press

“Instead of doing so, they turned a blind eye to what was going on and positively concealed it,” Fancourt said. “Had the illegal conduct been stopped, the misuse of the duke’s private information would have ended much sooner.”

After the ruling, Harry’s rep said he was “happy” with the result, saying (via Sky News): “This case is not just about hacking, it is about a systemic practice of unlawful and appalling behaviour, followed by coverups and destruction of evidence.”

MGN responded to the decision with a statement which read: “We welcome today’s judgment that gives the business the necessary clarity to move forward from events that took place many years ago.

“Where historical wrongdoing took place, we apologise unreservedly, have taken full responsibility and paid appropriate compensation.”

Harry, the estranged younger son of King Charles III, had sought £440,000 pounds as part of a crusade against the British media that bucked his family’s longstanding aversion to litigation and made him the first senior member of the royal family to testify in court in over a century.

His appearance in the witness box over two days in June created a spectacle as he lobbed allegations that Mirror Group Newspapers had employed journalists who eavesdropped on voicemails and hired private investigators to use deception and unlawful means to learn about him and other family members.

“I believe that phone hacking was at an industrial scale across at least three of the papers at the time,” Harry asserted in the High Court. “That is beyond any doubt.”

The judge said that Harry had a tendency in his testimony “to assume that everything published was the product of voicemail interception,” which was not the case. He said the Mirror Group was “not responsible for all of the unlawful activity directed at the duke.”


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