Prince Harry takes action against news publishers over alleged phone hacking
The royal issues legal proceedings against owners of The Sun and The Daily Mirror
Britain’s Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry (L), the Duke of Sussex, dance during a visit to Nyanga township in Cape Town, South Africa. Photograph: Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA
Prince Harry has issued legal proceedings against the owners of The Sun and The Daily Mirror over alleged phone hacking, in another ratcheting up of the royal’s war with the British newspaper industry.
The decision to file legal proceedings against two of the UK’s biggest publishers emerged following the royal’s strongly worded attack on the British media’s treatment of his wife, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex.
A royal source indicated that claims have been filed at the high court regarding alleged illegal interception of voicemail messages.
A source at one of the newspaper groups said they were aware of proceedings being lodged with the court but that the claim had yet to be served by the Duke of Sussex’s lawyers, and so they were unable to comment.
There are no details on the nature of the intended claims, but they were filed by solicitors Clintons, a company which has brought multiple phone-hacking claims in the past and won substantial payouts on behalf of its clients.
The filings were made days before Meghan launched separate legal action against the Mail on Sunday for alleged breach of privacy and copyright infringement over its decision to publish a private letter she had sent to her estranged father.
Court filings of September 27th, first reported by Byline Investigates, suggest that two separate claims were made in the duke’s name against Rupert Murdoch’s News Group Newspapers and Reach Plc subsidiary MGN Ltd last week.
Issuing proceedings is the first court step of possible legal action against a defendant. Once papers are lodged with the court, the claimant has four months to decide whether to proceed with the action by serving the defendant. Until that action has been taken it would be possible for a defendant to be unaware of the content of the claim.
The new cases mean that the royal couple are now pursuing active legal action against half the UK’s national print newspaper proprietors, with only the Telegraph, Guardian and Financial Times unaffected.
Press representatives for Prince Harry did not immediately return a request for comment.
Meghan’s decision to sue the publisher of the Mail on Sunday – announced as Harry launched a deeply personal attack on the British tabloid press – was widely viewed as a significant shift in the couple’s approach to privacy issues.
Harry accused parts of the media of “waging campaigns against individuals with no thought to the consequences”.
Emphasising his respect for the importance of “objective, truthful reporting”, he added: “Though this action may not be the safe one, it is the right one . . . I’ve seen what happens when someone I love is commoditised to the point that they are no longer treated or seen as a real person.
“I lost my mother and now I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces.” – Guardian