Prince Harry flew to Britain to fight a lawsuit against an old tabloid enemy he says caused him “suspicion and paranoia” of “those close to him” with “unlawful articles.”
The Duke of Sussex left Meghan Markle behind in California with their children, Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet. He made a public show of his commitment to his latest case against the publisher of U.K. newspapers The Daily Mail and The Mail on Sunday.
Alongside celebrities including Elton John, Sadie Frost and Liz Hurley, Harry is accusing Associated Newspapers of listening live into telephone conversations and bugging as well as privacy breaches.
A court filing seen by Newsweek reads: “While the Duke of Sussex states in evidence that he ‘was probably aware of only a small percentage of the articles Associated wrote about me at the time,’ his pleaded case is that “suspicion and paranoia was caused by Associated’s publication of the Unlawful Articles: friends were lost or cut off as a result and everyone became a “suspect,” since he was misled by the way that the Articles were written into believing that those close to him were the source of this information being provided to Associated’s newspapers.’”
Harry’s decision to show the strength of his support by attending the London court in person is significant and shows how seriously he takes the case.
Actress and entrepreneur Sadie Frost also showed up at court while Harry sat listening intently. The judge heard legal argument between the parties during the morning of Monday, March 27, the first of a four-day hearing.
The Mail‘s lawyers are arguing that the case should be thrown out because the allegations are too old.
Some date back as far as 1993. Any that are more than six years old would ordinarily be considered too historic for the case to go ahead.
However, if the claimants can prove that they did not know the unlawful conduct had taken place until more recently, then they may persuade the court to go ahead anyway.
In Harry’s case, the allegations run “from at least as early as 2001 until at least as late [as] 2013 and beyond,” according to court documents.
Harry and the group of public figures outlined their case in their own court filing, seen by Newsweek: “The Claimants each claim that in different ways they were the victim of numerous unlawful acts carried out by the Defendant or by those acting on the instructions of its newspapers, The Daily Mail and The Mail on Sunday.
“The unlawful acts which are the subject of these claims include illegally intercepting voicemail messages, listening into live landline calls, obtaining private information (such as itemised phone bills or medical records) by deception or ‘blagging’, using private investigators to commit these unlawful information gathering (“UIG”) acts on their behalf, and even commissioning the breaking and entry into private property.
“They range through a period from 1993 to 2011, even continuing beyond until 2018. Even at such an early stage, and critically prior to disclosure, the evidence so far revealed of the Defendant’s unlawful information gathering activities (andunlawful articles which were published as a result) appears compelling, butultimately this is a matter for the Court to determine at trial on the basis of a fulland proper investigation of the facts.”
The hearing continues in London.
Jack Royston is chief royal correspondent for Newsweek, based in London. You can find him on Twitter at @jack_royston and read his stories on Newsweek‘s The Royals Facebook page.
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