London (Agencies): Prince Harry has secured a significant victory in his phone-hacking lawsuit against Mirror Group Newspapers, with a judge ruling that the publisher unlawfully obtained information from his mobile phone. The High Court Judge, Timothy Fancourt, delivered the verdict on Friday, stating that Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) extensively engaged in phone hacking between 2006 and 2011 to gather details for articles about the scandal-ridden royal. Prince Harry was awarded £140,600 ($178,780) in damages.
Judge Fancourt emphasized that the use of private investigators to unlawfully obtain information was an integral part of MGN’s tactics, asserting that former Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan and other editors and lawyers at MGN were aware that their investigators were breaking the law.
While Prince Harry’s claim that 33 articles about him in the Daily Mirror, the Sunday Mirror, and Sunday People were compiled using hacked information could only be partly proven, Judge Fancourt acknowledged that 15 of these articles resulted from illegal surveillance.
Prince Harry testified in June, marking the first time in over 130 years that a British royal has appeared before the court. He revealed that the stories published as a result of phone hacking had negative consequences on his personal relationships and disclosed private details about his military service and drug use.
In a statement delivered by his lawyer, Prince Harry expressed satisfaction with the verdict, declaring it a “great day for truth, as well as accountability.” The statement emphasized that the case went beyond hacking, highlighting a systemic practice of unlawful behavior, cover-ups, and destruction of evidence.
Throughout the case, MGN maintained that while it had used phone hacking for some stories in the past, it had not done so in Prince Harry’s case. Following the judgment, the news group expressed a desire to “move forward from events that took place many years ago” and apologized for historical wrongdoing, claiming full responsibility and offering appropriate compensation.