Prince Harry Wins Landmark Phone Hacking Case Against One of Britain's Major Tabloids |

Prince Harry Wins Landmark Phone Hacking Case Against One of Britain’s Major Tabloids

Hounded by paparazzi all his life, Britain’s Prince Harry won a legal victory Friday against a U.K. newspaper group he accused of hacking into his voicemail in the early 2000s to get scoops.

via: NBC News

Prince Harry won a partial victory in his latest court case against British newspapers after a judge ruled Friday that there had been “extensive” phone hacking by the Mirror Group.

The High Court in London said that Harry’s personal cellphone was probably hacked “to a modest extent,” and the judge, Justice Timothy Fancourt, ruled that 15 out of the 33 news articles Harry submitted as part of the trial were the product of accessing his mobile voicemail.

Fancourt said that phone hacking was “widespread and habitual” over many years at the Mirror Group and that senior managers were aware of the practice and covered it up.

The partial victory means the Duke of Sussex, who is no longer a working royal following his acrimonious move to California with his wife, Meghan, will be awarded 140,600 pounds ($180,000).

Harry was not in court for the ruling, but he said in a prepared statement read outside court by his lead attorney, David Sherborne, that the case had shown a “systemic practice of unlawful and appalling behavior, followed by cover-ups and destruction of evidence, the shocking scale of which can only be revealed through these proceedings.”

He called for criminal charges to be brought against the publisher and said it was time for the police and prosecutors to “do their duty” and begin an investigation.

In a statement, Mirror Group Newspapers apologized.

“We welcome today’s judgment that gives the business the necessary clarity to move forward from events that took place many years ago,” the company said.

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

Harry’s statement said the ruling proves that senior editors and company executives, including Piers Morgan, all knew about hacking and had been lying about it ever since.

“The court has found that Mirror Group’s principal board directors, their legal department, senior executives, and editors such as Piers Morgan, clearly knew about or were involved in these illegal activities,” he said.

“Between them, they even went as far as lying under oath to Parliament during the Leveson Inquiry, to the Stock Exchange, and to us all ever since.”

The judgment said: “There is compelling evidence that the editors of each newspaper knew very well that VMI [voicemail interception] was being used extensively and habitually and that they were happy to take the benefits of it.”

Morgan, who edited the Daily Mirror from 1995 to 2004, has always denied knowledge of or involvement in illegal phone hacking.

Asked about Friday’s judgment, he said: “The judgment finds there is just one article relating to the prince published in the Daily Mirror during my entire nine-year tenure as editor that he thinks may have involved some unlawful information gathering. To be clear, I had then, and still have, zero knowledge of how that particular story was gathered. All these other claims against the Daily Mirror under my leadership were rejected.”

The hacking case was brought jointly by four British celebrities or their families who each claim they were the victim of phone hacking. The claims from two — the former wife of a British comedian and a British soap opera star — were dismissed because they have run out of time.

The case saw Harry testify in in June, making him the first high-ranking royal to give evidence in court in 130 years.

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