Prince Harry's hacking case against The Sun's publisher thrown out
Prince Harry’s phone hacking case against The Sun’s publisher and claim of ‘secret agreement’ between Buckingham Palace and the press is thrown out by a judge – but other claims against paper will go to trial
Prince Harry’s phone hacking claims against The Sun’s publisher were today thrown out by a judge.
Mr Justice Fancourt also dismissed the Duke of Sussex’s claim there was a Buckingham Palace ‘secret agreement’ with the press as implausible.
The Sun’s publisher hailed the ruling as ‘a significant victory’.
While Harry’s phone hacking claims have been dismissed, the High Court judge granted him the right to continue suing the newspaper for other alleged illegal activity to find information for stories. A trial will take place at next January on these matters.
In his ruling, the judge said Harry’s case had ‘not reached the necessary threshold of plausibility and cogency’.
Prince Harry outside the High Court in June to give evidence against Mirror Group Newspapers. He lost his phone hacking claim against The Sun today
While Harry’s phone hacking claims have been dismissed, the High Court judge granted him the right to continue suing the newspaper for other alleged illegal activity to find information for stories
The duke launched his claim in 2019 arguing his phone and those of his friends had been hacked by the now-defunct News of the World and The Sun between 1996 and 2011.
But publisher News Group Newspapers said Harry was too late, because by law claimants have six years to start legal action after they found out about the alleged activity.
Siding with the newspaper, Mr Justice Fancourt said that Harry knew by September 2013 that he had been hacked by the News of the World. ‘Time therefore expired’, said the judge, by the time duke started his claim in 2019.
Harry argued that the reason he had not brought his case sooner was because of a ‘secret agreement’ between senior courtiers at Buckingham Palace and newspaper executives.
According to Harry – who tried to amend his case at a late stage to insert the ‘secret agreement’ claim – the supposed clandestine deal was that Harry and Prince William would not bring legal claims until other litigation had been settled.
The Sun’s KC Anthony Hudson told an earlier hearing this was ‘Alice in Wonderland stuff’ and there was never any such secret agreement.
Today the judge said Harry’s claims about the secret deal were not plausible.
He said there was ‘no witness or documentary evidence to support what the Duke claimed’.
Harry’s new case was ‘inconsistent’ with his original case, the judge ruled.
After the hearing, News Group Newspapers said: ‘The High Court has today, in a significant victory for News Group Newspapers (‘NGN’), dismissed The Duke of Sussex’s phone hacking claims against both the News of the World and The Sun.
‘In arguing his case, the Duke of Sussex had alleged a ‘secret agreement’ existed between him/Buckingham Palace and NGN which stopped NGN from asserting that the Duke’s claim had been brought too late.
‘The Judge, Mr Justice Fancourt, found his claims in relation to the alleged ‘secret agreement’ were not plausible or credible.
‘It is quite clear there was never any such agreement and it is only the Duke who has ever asserted there was.’
The newspaper group is also being sued by Hugh Grant. But the actor also had the phone hacking elements of his case thrown out too, by the same judge, earlier this year.
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