Prince Harry Wins Hacking Lawsuit Against Tabloids

( – On Dec. 15, a judge ruled in favor of Prince Harry’s phone hacking lawsuit against the Daily Mirror’s publisher.

In his 386-page ruling, Justice Timothy Fancourt found that the phone hacking was “widespread and habitual” by Mirror Group Newspapers over the years. In the ruling, he stated, private investigators unlawfully gathering information was “an integral part of the system,” which was then covered up by the newspaper executives.

Prince Harry, 39, the estranged son of King Charles III, alleged that Mirror Group Newspapers used unlawful means to gather information used to produce over 150 stories written between 1996 and 2010. He stated the stories about his injuries, romances and alleged drug use caused him great emotional distress.

He was awarded over 140,000 pounds ($180,000) in damages for the unlawful gathering of information used in 15 of the 33 newspaper articles in question during the trial. Mirror Group Newspapers denied using unlawful reporting methods for 28 of the 33 articles in question during the trial and made no admissions about the remaining five.

The judge stated that “the misuse of the duke’s private information” would have ended sooner if the two directors at Trinity Mirror had stopped the illegal behavior. In the lawsuit, Prince Harry had sought 440,000 pounds ($560,000) in damages.

The lawsuit is the first of three against the British tabloid media. Two other tabloid publishers face trials in lawsuits with nearly identical allegations to the ones in the lawsuit against Mirror Group Newspapers. Prince Harry says the lawsuits are the first line of attack in what he calls “his life’s mission to reform the media.”

Justice Fancourt previously threw out Prince Harry’s hacking claims against The Sun’s publisher. A lawsuit alleging that journalists from News Group Newspapers used other unlawful methods to snoop on Prince Harry and actor Hugh Grant is proceeding to trial. A different judge also gave Prince Harry the go-ahead to take a case against the publisher of the Daily Mail to trial.

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