Prince Harry on Wednesday attacked Mirror Group newspapers for “destruction of evidence on an industrial scale” as he concluded his testimony against the media group at London’s High Court.
The Duke of Sussex was questioned for a second day about 33 articles published in the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror or The People, which he said were the result of phone hacking or illegal information gathering over a 15-year period. Mirror Group denies his allegations and defends the case.
The outcome of the action brought by Charles III’s youngest son, who has three parallel lawsuits alleging that British newspapers hacked his phone and other illegal conduct, will be eagerly watched by other media groups.
The prince, who is the first royal to testify in court since the 19th century, was cross-examined by Mirror Group lawyer Andrew Green KC, who said there was no evidence of call records showing his mobile phone had been intercepted by Mirror Group journalists.
In response, Prince Harry said “burner phones were used” which left no trace of activity, adding that “evidence had been destroyed on an industrial scale” by Mirror Group.
After finishing his testimony, Prince Harry was asked by his lawyer David Sherborne how he felt after being cross-examined while being watched by the media around the world. The Prince, appearing more confident on the witness stand on his second day, replied in a slightly cracked voice, “It’s been a lot.”
During the interrogation, Green asked the prince how he would react if the court ruled that his phone had not been hacked: “I believe there was at least three newspapers being hacked on an industrial scale at the time. . . have a decision against me. . . I would feel some injustice.”
He also pointed to payments made to private investigators by journalists, one of which was entitled “Project Harry”, which the prince said was “incredibly disturbing”.
Prince Harry was asked about an article in The People in April 2006 detailing his visit to Spearmint Rhino lap dance club, when the court was presented with a story saying the visit had led to angry calls from his then-girlfriend Chelsy Davy.
Prince Harry told the High Court the “detail about the timing and length of the conversations is so specific” that he suspected journalists from the Mirror Group “accessed one of our phone records and put two and two together to make a story “. He added that a tracking device was found on Davy’s car on one occasion.
He also criticized the use of obscure sourcing. “Attributing information to a ‘palace source’ is suspicious,” he said, adding that he had never spoken to anyone at Buckingham Palace about his relationship with Davy.
Mirror Group denies that Prince Harry had his phone hacked or was the target of unlawful information gathering, but acknowledges that an investigator was appointed by a journalist from The People to illegally collect information about his behavior in the UK one February. Chinawhite nightclub in London 2004.
Mirror Group denies or admits that the 33 articles in the middle of the trial were the result of unlawful information gathering and also claims that Prince Harry’s lawsuit was overdue. The case continues.