Prince Harry seeking close to $1 million in phone-hacking lawsuit

  • 01/07/2023

Prince Harry has asked for close to $1 million in compensation in his phone hacking case against the Mirror Group, court documents released on Friday (local time) showed as the trial came to a close. 

The Duke of Sussex is among 100 others suing Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN), the publisher of the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror and Sunday People, over allegations of phone-hacking and unlawful information-gathering between 1991 and 2011. 

They claim senior editors and executives at MGN knew about and approved of the wrongdoing. MGN, owned by Reach, is fighting the lawsuit, saying there was no evidence for the accusations.

Prince Harry leaves the Rolls Building at the Royal Courts of Justice after giving evidence in the Mirror Group phone hacking trial.
Prince Harry leaves the Rolls Building at the Royal Courts of Justice after giving evidence in the Mirror Group phone hacking trial. Photo credit: Getty Images

Harry claims he was targeted by MGN for 15 years from 1996 and over 140 stories that appeared in its papers were the result of unlawful information gathering. 

The trial - which ended on Friday - is only considering 33 of these.

A court document released on the final day of the trial showed Harry is seeking up to £320,000 (NZ$665,472) in damages relating to the 33 articles if the court rules in his favour on all of them.

On top of this, another document which was also released on the final day of the trial shows Prince Harry's lawyers are after another £120,000 (NZ$249,552) for 61 episodes of alleged unlawful information gathering said to have been carried out against Harry and others including his mother, the late Princess Diana.

The chosen 33 articles cover Prince Harry's relationship with his brother - Prince William - the breakdown of his relationship with ex-girlfriend Chelsy Davy, a few injuries and illnesses, allegations of drug use and his military service.

Harry may also be awarded more if the judge, Justice Timothy Fancourt, rules he is also entitled to "aggravated damages", which can be awarded to compensate a claimant for additional distress caused by MGN's alleged wrongdoing. 

MGN argues none of the 33 articles resulted from unlawful information gathering, rather some of the personal information about Harry had come from, or with the consent of, senior Buckingham Palace aides. 

MGN also said there is no evidence Harry's phone was hacked. 

According to the court documents released on Friday, MGN argues the Duke of Sussex should receive no more than £37,000 (NZ$76,945), even if he wins on all 33 articles. 

MGN admitted at the start of the trial on one occasion a private investigator was used to unlawfully gather evidence about Harry in 2004, but the article which was published did not form part of the trial.

MGN said the Duke of Sussex should receive £500 (NZ$1040) in damages for that one incident, while Harry's lawyers say he's justified to £2500 (NZ$5199). 

Harry became the first senior royal to give evidence in court for 130 years when he appeared last month for a day-and-a-half of questioning in the witness box.

The fifth-in-line to the throne said he believed phone hacking took place on an industrial scale at MGN's titles.

The trial concluded on Friday and Fancourt said his ruling "will take some time" but is expected to be later this year.