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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Tristan Kirk

Prince Harry calls out Piers Morgan and wants fresh phone hacking probe after court victory

Prince Harry called for a fresh police investigation and a Parliamentary probe into phone hacking at tabloid newspapers as he emerged victorious from a High Court battle.

The Duke of Sussex was awarded £140,600 in damages after a judge found he had been the victim of phone hacking for six years between 2003 and 2009 andthose around him had also been targeted with the illegal practice.

In a devastating judgment for Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN), Mr Justice Fancourt said hacking had been widespread and habitual at the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror and People newspapers, while editors and senior executives had either been actively involved or “turned a blind eye”.

The judge also concluded that Royal biographer Omid Scobie had been telling the truth when he recalled seeing Piers Morgan, then editor of the Daily Mirror, being told directly that a story about Kylie Minogue had come from voicemails.

In a statement read outside court by his barrister David Sherborne, Harry hailed the court victory as a “warning to all media organisations” who have used illegal newsgathering methods.

“I’ve been told slaying dragons will get you burnt”, he said. “In light of today’s victory and the importance of doing what is needed for a fair and honest press, it’s worthwhile price to pay.”

And in a nod to other legal cases he is pursuing against publishers of the Daily Mail and The Sun, he added: “The mission continues.”

Harry said Parliament, the Leveson Inquiry into press standards, and the Stock Exchange had been “misled” by MGN executives, and called for fresh investigations to be opened, including by the police.

He said authorities should “do their duty for the British public and investigate, bring charges against the company and anyone involved in breakingthe law.”

In the statement, Prince Harry said: “This is not just about hacking, it’s about a systemic practice of unlawful and appalling behaviour followed by a cover-up and destruction of evidence, the shocking scale of which can only be revealed through these proceedings.

“Principle Board directors, the legal director, senior executives such as Piers Morgan, knew about or were involved in this illegal activity.”

He suggested lies have been told under oath to Parliament, as well as to the Leveson Inquiry, to the Stock Exchange, and “to us all”.

“Patience is in fact a virtue, especially in the face of vendetta journalism”, he added.

“Mirror Group persistently attempted to suggest my claim was fantastical, in the realms of total speculation, and there was simply no evidence at all to suggest I was hacked. Zilch, zero, nil, nada, niet. Absolutely not.

“All of that was total nonsense and used maliciously to attack my character and credibility.

“As Mirror Group intended, these hollow soundbites were blasted across the front pages and across online platforms and into the next day’s television shows.

“The court has confirmed all four claimants were subjected to voicemail interception unlawfully.”

The judge concluded in his ruling that Sly Bailey, who was MGN chief executive, and group legal director Paul Vickers knew about phone hacking but did nothing to investigate.

He said editors of all three newspapers were involved in the unlawful activities, and he accepted multiple pieces of evidence that Mr Morgan knew about phone hacking.

Following the ruling, an MGN spokesperson said: "We welcome today's judgment that gives the business the necessary clarity to move forward from events that took place many years ago.

"Where historical wrongdoing took place, we apologise unreservedly, have taken full responsibility and paid appropriate compensation."

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