LONDON: Prince Harry accused a tabloid publisher of “industrial scale” phone hacking as he wrapped up almost eight hours of court testimony on Wednesday, becoming the first British royal in over a century to take to the witness stand.
The younger son of King Charles III appeared emotional as he came to the end of his two days’ cross-examination by a lawyer for Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN), which publishes The Mirror, Sunday Mirror and the Sunday People.
“It’s a lot,” the 38-year-old prince replied in a barely audible voice after his own lawyer David Sherborne asked him how having to relive upsetting episodes of his life in court had made him feel.
Harry and several other claimants allege the titles engaged in “illegal information gathering”, including intercepting phone voicemails, to write dozens of stories about him.
“I believe phone hacking was at an industrial scale across at least three of its (MGN’s) papers and that is beyond doubt,” Harry said under renewed questioning by MGN lawyer Andrew Green.
If that was not accepted by the court, he added, “I would feel some injustice”.
Pressed on why he was singling out MGN, Harry said he believes alleged hacking elsewhere was on a lesser scale and that it “started at Mirror group”.
He also revealed that part of the motivation for the lawsuit was a desire to do something about the “hate that was coming towards me and my wife” in recent years.
In the witness box and after swearing an oath on the Bible, Harry argued he had been the victim of relentless and distressing media intrusion virtually his entire life.
Some media had blood on their hands, he argued, and said stories written about him had made him paranoid and untrusting in friendships and relationships.
Published in Dawn, June 8th, 2023