Prince Harry hacking trial: The 33 Stories at the Centre of his case


Prince Harry is set to give evidence in court today in the phone-hacking practice that has seen him accuse the publisher of the Daily Mirror of obtaining information for stories via unlawful means.
Harry is accusing Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) of using methods such as phone hacking, so-called “blagging“, and using private investigators for unlawful activities. These techniques have been broadly termed illegal information gathering (UIG)
Part of the evidence submitted by Harry’s legal team includes 33 articles that they allege was obtained via phone hacking or other unlawful methods. The articles comprise part of the 147 articles in claims brought by Harry and three other claimants – former soap actress Nikki Sanderson, comedian Paul Whitehouse’s ex-wife Fiona Wightman and actor Michael Turner.
For many of the articles, Mirror Group Newspapers denied they were sourced unlawfully and put forward alternative scenarios. For others, MGN has “not admitted” they were via UIG, meaning Harry has to prove that they were. Harry’s ex-girlfriend Chelsy Davy is the subject of several articles in Harry’s claim. One such piece, Harry is Chelsea Fan published by the Daily Mirror in 2004, revealed details of the prince’s private life with his new girlfriend. However, MGN denied that any UIG had taken place, claiming the information used in the story came “from a prior report in the Mail on Sunday, two confidential sources and a South African.

Overview of the Charges Against Prince Harry

photographer”.Another two stories about Davy, published by the Daily Mirror in 2005, claim she intended to end her relationship with Harry and that she had given him a “tongue-lashing down the phone” after he was allegedly seen flirting with another woman.
The publisher admits phone hacking once took place at its newspapers – but denies that the Duke of Sussex was ever a target.
The judge will examine in minute detail 33 sample stories published in the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror and The People – part of 147 that the Duke of Sussex’s lawyers say were the fruits of illegal newsgathering between 1996 and 2010.
MGN has told the court that in the vast majority of the sample, it can show the story was legitimately sourced. The judge will decide who is right.
In the case of five stories, however, it’s not giving a complete alternative account and tells Prince Harry to “prove it”.
Also, MGN has admitted that on one occasion in 2004, a private investigator was instructed to unlawfully gather information about Prince Harry’s conduct in a nightclub – but this incident isn’t part of his claim for breach of privacy.
The earliest allegation to be tested dates from 16 September 1996 when the Daily Mirror reported: “DIANA SO SAD ON HARRY’S BIG DAY”. The story revealed that the prince’s mother had spent just 20 minutes with him on his 12th birthday, weeks after his parent’s divorce. The Mirror said the young prince was “believed to be taking the royal divorce badly”.

Breaching Digital Security Systems

There are other stories about the child prince. The Mirror reported 2000 that the now 15-year-old Harry was going rock climbing rather than attending a gala pageant for the Queen Mother’s 100th birthday.
In both these examples, MGN is expected to argue that the information was already in the public domain, not reasonably private or simply trivial. Team Harry will say stories like these can be linked to records of payments to private investigators.
Prince Harry says unlawful intrusion followed him, quite literally, onto the playing fields of Eton.
Two stories discuss sporting injuries. The Daily Mirror reported in November 2000 Harry had had “a minor operation” on his arm after a football-related injury at Eton, detailing specific advice doctors are said to have given the 16-year-old.
Eleven months later, the Sunday Mirror reported in a story headlined “RUGGER OFF, HARRY” that doctors had ordered the prince to stop playing rugby because of a back injury.
Both of these stories include what appears to be private medical information – but according to trial documents, MGN’s team looks set to argue the details were either provided by the Palace or essentially public knowledge at the school.

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Olivia Wilson

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