Prince Harry Among Celebrities That Claim Daily Mail Publisher Bugged Their Homes
Britain’s Prince Harry made an unexpected appearance at the UK High Court on Monday morning to support his case against Daily Mail publisher Associated Newspapers (ANL). This was the first time the Duke of Sussex was publicly seen in London since the Queen’s funeral in September.
The duke is among a group of celebrities including Elton John, Sadie Frost, and Liz Hurley suing ANL for unlawful information gathering and “gross breaches of privacy.” They allege that the publisher tapped their phones, bugged their homes, and gained access to personal, medical, and financial information under spurious claims.
ANL, which has denied the claims as “preposterous smears,” is seeking to have the case thrown out through summary judgment. Monday was the first day of a four-day preliminary hearing that will have the judge consider legal arguments and decide whether the case can be concluded without trial.
Because it’s a preliminary hearing and there is no need for oral evidence, it was unexpected and somewhat unusual for the high-profile defendants to appear in court. But Prince Harry’s presence at the court, as well as Sadie Frost’s and Elton John’s, underscores how seriously the plaintiffs are taking the case.
Harry’s case focuses on 14 “unlawful articles” from 2001 to 2011 that his lawyers say contain information that “was not shared publicly by the claimant or disclosed outside of his trusted circle.”
The duke’s legal team had a written submission that described his experience with ANL. It said that he has suffered from “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.”
ANL said in October when the case was brought to court that they “utterly and unambiguously refute these preposterous smears which appear to be nothing more than a pre-planned and orchestrated attempt to drag the Mail titles into the phone hacking scandal concerning articles up to 30 years old.”
“We utterly and unambiguously refute these preposterous smears which appear to be nothing more than a pre-planned and orchestrated attempt to drag the Mail titles into the phone hacking scandal concerning articles up to 30 years old.”
“These unsubstantiated and highly defamatory claims — based on no credible evidence — appear to be simply a fishing expedition by claimants and their lawyers, some of whom have already pursued cases elsewhere.”
Harry and his wife Meghan Markle have been on a quest to reclaim their privacy by attempting to take control of how and what information is shared about their private lives. The duke recently released the controversial memoir, Spare, where he talks about his difficult relationship with his father King Charles, and his brother Prince William. The couple also released a documentary series on Netflix.
Their recent media appearances have unofficially gained them a spot on the show South Park. The episode called “The Worldwide Privacy Tour,” featured a royal family that had an uncanny likeness to the British Royal family, particularly the Sussexes.
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