Lawyers representing Mirror Group Newspapers have accused Prince Harry of wasting court time after he failed to appear at the High Court in London on Monday morning for his phone hacking trial against the publisher. The trial revolves around allegations that information about the Duke and other high-profile claimants was illegally obtained by journalists to generate stories in the Daily Mirror and other tabloids.
Representing Prince Harry, David Sherborne informed the court that the Duke would not attend the hearing on Monday due to arriving in the UK late the previous night from California, where he had been celebrating his daughter Lilibet’s second birthday. This absence led Andrew Green KC, representing Mirror Group Newspapers, to express his astonishment and argue that the court’s time would be wasted as a result.
Justice Fancourt, the judge overseeing the case, also expressed surprise at Prince Harry’s absence but was later informed by the Duke’s barrister that he would attend court the following day to provide his testimony, as reported by The Guardian.
Prince Harry, along with three other claimants, is suing Mirror Newspapers, alleging that their voicemails were unlawfully accessed to gather information. While Mirror Group Newspapers has admitted its journalists’ involvement in phone hacking and has paid significant settlements and legal costs, the company denies hacking Prince Harry’s phone. However, they have apologized to the Duke for using a private investigator to gather evidence about him in 2004.
This civil case marks the first time in over a century that a senior royal will be cross-examined in court. In his witness statement, Prince Harry emphasized the distress and paranoia caused by the unlawful activity at Mirror Group Newspapers.
As the trial progresses, the spotlight remains on the legal battle between Prince Harry and the newspaper group, which raises important questions about privacy, media ethics, and the responsibilities of the press.