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  1. Media Law
June 7, 2023

No call data to back up Prince Harry hacking claim against Mirror, court told

"There is hard evidence to suggest an incredible amount of suspiciousness."

By PA Media

The High Court has heard that there is no call data to back up Prince Harry’s claim that his phone messages were repeatedly hacked by Mirror Group Newspapers.

Andrew Green KC, for MGN, asked the duke if he was aware that the claimants in the 2015 phone hacking trial against the News of the World had “extensive call data” showing calls to their mobile phones. Harry said he was not aware of that.

Green asked if the lack of call data in his claim suggests his phone wasn’t hacked, to which the duke replied: “Absolutely not.”

The barrister then asked Harry if he would be “disappointed” if the court finds his phone was not hacked by MGN journalists.

Harry said he would be “speculating”, but when pushed further for an answer said he would “feel some injustice”.

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He told the court: “I believe that phone hacking was (done) on an industrial scale across at least three of the papers at the time… that is beyond any doubt.

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“To have a decision against me and any of the other people (bringing a claim), given that Mirror Group have admitted hacking, yes, I would feel some injustice… if it wasn’t accepted.”

After taking the duke through all of the 33 articles being considered in the case, Andrew Green KC asked him when he first approached solicitors about making a claim against MGN.

Prince could not remember particular voicemail which was hacked

Harry said: “I didn’t go to them, I bumped into Mr Sherborne in France. It’s in my book.”

Asked when this meeting took place, the duke said: “It’s referenced in my book, 2018-ish.”

Green asked if, before he spoke to lawyers, he had concerns over any particular articles being the result of unlawful activity.

Harry said: “No, I was never shown anything. It was all contained within the palace.” He added that even if he had been shown anything, he “would not have been allowed” to make a complaint.

Green put to the duke that he has never been able to identify any story in an MGN publication to have come from phone hacking.

Harry replied: “I think that is a question for my legal team. There is hard evidence to suggest an incredible amount of suspiciousness and I believe that burner phones were used extensively.”

When asked if there was a particular voicemail which he believes was intercepted, he answered: “I can’t remember a specific voicemail that I left over the last 20 years.”

The duke said he was not aware there was no existing call data in relation to him, and was then asked if he believed he was being hacked on a daily basis.

He replied: “It could have been happening on a daily basis, I simply don’t know.”

Completing his cross examination of the duke, Green asked if he was aware of any evidence which gave “any indication whatsoever” that he was being hacked. Harry replied: “No, that is the … reason why I am here.”

Responding to a question from the judge about when he first experienced unusual activity in relation to his voicemails, the duke said: “From the moment I had a mobile phone.”

Asked if there were times the activity was more frequent, he said: “I can’t remember. I remember a lot of missed calls that lasted one second and remember a lot of people asking me ‘Did you get my voicemail?’, I don’t remember how consistent that was.”

He added that he was sure there was more activity around certain events or when he featured in the press, which he said was “most of my life”, because lots of people were trying to find out information around those times.

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