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Irish Independent
Irish Independent
Victoria Ward

Prince Harry says Britain is doomed if newspaper evades justice

Britain’s Prince Harry at London’s Royal Courts of Justice yesterday. Photo: James Manning

Prince Harry has warned that if an influential newspaper company can evade justice, “the whole country is doomed”.

Harry used his witness statement, lodged with the High Court in London in his privacy claim against the publisher of the Daily Mail, to rail against the “unchecked power, influence and criminality” of the newspaper group.

He also accused the royal family of trying to keep from him the full extent of phone hacking at the now defunct News of the World –owned by News Group Newspapers (NGN) – and claimed that they did not want to pursue litigation because it “could open a can of worms”.

Harry is among seven high-profile figures who are suing Associated Newspapers – the others being Elton John (76), his husband David Furnish (60), Doreen Lawrence (70), the mother of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence; the actresses Sadie Frost (57) and Liz Hurley (57); and Simon Hughes, a former Liberal Democrat MP (71).

Their witness statements were made public for the first time this week in a joint claim of alleged unlawful information gathering.

Associated Newspapers, publisher of the Daily Mail, has applied to have the claims dismissed without a trial on the grounds they are too old to be considered and that some documents relied upon by the claimants were confidentially supplied to the 2012 Leveson press inquiry.

Harry said: “If the defendant, the owner of various national newspapers, including the Daily Mail which, by its own definition, is the most influential and popular newspaper in the UK, can evade justice without there being a trial of my claims, then what does that say about the industry as a whole and the consequences for our great country?

“Unfair is not a big enough word to describe the fact that Associated is trying at this early stage to prevent me from bringing my claim.

“If the most influential newspaper company can successfully evade justice, then in my opinion the whole country is doomed.”

Harry said he became aware that he could bring a separate claim against NGN in 2018 but was discouraged from doing so.

“It was made clear to me that the royal family did not sit in the witness box because that could open up a can of worms,” he said. 

In his statement, Elton John alleged his medical records had been hacked by Associated Newspapers, whom he accused of a breach of “basic standards of human decency”. He claimed the group had obtained medical records surrounding the birth of his son Zachary and used them as a basis for stories.

Ms Hurley claimed a private investigator had been used to tap her landline and place hidden microphones on her windows. The actress and model also accused Associated of sanctioning the theft of her medical records while she was pregnant.

Ms Frost said that Jude Law, the actor who was her husband at the time, “thought the information being published in these stories was being leaked by me. It is a horrible feeling, having the person you love accusing you of something you did not do”.

She claimed she was portrayed as a “money grabbing ex-wife”.

Associated Newspapers denies any wrongdoing. 

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