In a landmark victory, Prince Harry has achieved a significant triumph in his legal battle against British tabloids after London’s High Courts ruled that he was indeed a victim of phone hacking.
The decision comes after Prince Harry made history by becoming the first senior British royal in 130 years to provide testimony in court during the June trial.
The court granted him a substantial award of £140,600 ($267,000 AUD).
This ruling solidifies Harry’s persistent claims that Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) journalists, with the knowledge of their editors at the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror, and Sunday People, deliberately targeted him.
The judge’s acknowledgment of editorial complicity in these wrongful acts substantiates Harry’s assertions that influential media figures were not only aware of the misconduct but also engaged in covering it up.
Judge Timothy Fancourt concluded 15 stories were the result of unlawful acts, and that Harry’s phone “was only hacked to a modest extent”.
“However, it did happen on occasions from about the end of 2003 to April 2009,” Fancourt said.
Harry said the ruling was “vindicating and affirming” and should serve as a warning to other news outlets.
“Today is a great day for truth, as well as accountability,” Harry said in a statement read by his lawyer outside court.
“I’ve been told that slaying dragons will get you burned. But in light of today’s victory and the importance of doing what is needed for a free and honest press, it is a worthwhile price to pay. The mission continues.”
According to the judgment, one of the editors implicated in being aware of the “widespread” unlawful conduct was none other than the prominent broadcaster Piers Morgan. Morgan held the position of Daily Mirror editor from 1996 to 2004 and has since become a prominent critic of Harry and Meghan.
Following the ruling, Morgan hit out, contending that Harry’s purpose was not to reform the press but rather to dismantle the Monarchy alongside Meghan while refuting claims of phone hacking made against him.
“I also want to reiterate, as I’ve consistently said, for many years now, I’ve never hacked a phone or told anybody else to hack a phone,” he told reporters outside his home.
“And nobody has produced any actual evidence to prove that I did.”