Britain's Prince Harry seeking over $500,000 in phone-hacking lawsuit: Court documents
LONDON Prince Harry is seeking damages of up to £320,000 (S$550,000) from Britain’s Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN), court documents released on Friday revealed as the trial of the royal’s phone-hacking lawsuit nears its end.
The Prince and around 100 others are suing MGN, the publisher of the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror and Sunday People, at London’s High Court over allegations of phone-hacking and unlawful information gathering between 1991 and 2011.
They claim senior editors and executives at MGN knew about and approved of the wrongdoing. MGN, owned by Reach, is fighting the lawsuit and says there is no evidence for the accusations.
Prince Harry says he was targeted by MGN for 15 years from 1996 and that more than 140 stories which appeared in its papers were the result of unlawful information gathering, though the trial – which ends on Friday – is considering only 33 of these.
The Prince is seeking up to £320,000 in damages in relation to the 33 articles in the event the court finds in his favour on all of them, according to court documents which were made public on Friday.
The court may also consider whether Prince Harry is entitled to what are known as aggravated damages, which can be awarded to compensate a claimant for additional distress caused by a defendant’s actions.
MGN argues that none of the 33 articles resulted from unlawful information gathering. It says there is no evidence Prince Harry’s phone was hacked and that some of the personal information about the Prince had come from, or with the consent of, senior Buckingham Palace aides.
The publisher argues Prince Harry should receive no more than £37,000, even if he wins on all 33 articles, according to the documents released on Friday.
At the start of the trial in May, MGN admitted that on one occasion a private investigator had been engaged to unlawfully gather evidence about Prince Harry in 2004, though the article which was published did not form part of the trial.
MGN said Prince Harry should receive a maximum of £500 in damages for that one incident.
Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, became the first senior royal to give evidence in court in 130 years when he appeared in June for 1½ days of questioning in the witness box.
The fifth-in-line to the throne said he believed phone-hacking took place on an industrial scale at MGN’s titles.
MGN’s lawyer Green argued in court filings that Prince Harry’s “undoubtedly fair resentment about his treatment by British and international media” had motivated his legal action, which he said was part of his “campaign to ‘reform’ the British press”.
The trial is due to conclude on Friday, with a ruling not expected for several months. - REUTERS