Prince Harry’s lawyers will begin the closing statements on Tuesday in a lawsuit against the British media company Mirror Group Newspapers, which he accused of hacking his cellphone more than a decade ago.
The lawsuit is part of a yearslong feud between Harry and the British tabloids, and one of several cases he has brought against newspaper publishers. During this trial, the prince gave evidence over two days, becoming the first prominent member of the royal family to testify in court in over 130 years.
This week, both David Sherborne, Prince Harry’s lawyer, and Andrew Green, a lawyer for the Mirror Group, will address the judge, Timothy Fancourt.
It is likely that the lawyers will discuss Harry’s testimony in their closing remarks, potentially addressing the evidence he gave and the question of his credibility.
What did Harry’s team argue?
Harry’s legal team detailed what they consider the unlawful means the company used to get private information about him for a series of articles it published between 1996 and 2011. The case is focused on allegations that throughout the early 2000s, the company hacked Harry’s phone, as well as those of his brother, William, a girlfriend and some of his aides. Harry brought the lawsuit alongside three other claimants.
Harry’s legal team argued that the illegal reporting methods resulted in invasive articles that hurt Harry’s trust in his friends and put a strain on his relationship with his then-girlfriend, Chelsy Davy.
What did the Mirror Group argue?
The Mirror Group’s lead lawyer, Andrew Green, said in court that there was no evidence Prince Harry was ever hacked. His legal team has argued that suspicion of phone hacking is not proof, and that some of the articles in question were published before the prince had a cellphone.
He added that by 2009, employees of another tabloid, The News of the World, owned by Rupert Murdoch, had been sentenced to jail for phone hacking, making it unlikely that the Mirror Group’s journalists would run the risk of doing the same.
They also said Harry had waited too long to sue.
What were the key moments in the trial so far?
During the trial, Harry condemned the British tabloid press and its methods, asking, “How much more blood will stain their typing fingers before someone can put a stop to this madness?”
He added that the tabloids’ actions affected every area of his life, spurring “bouts of depression and paranoia.”
Harry said the persona that the tabloids created, portraying him as the “thicko,” the “cheat,” the “underage drinker” and the “irresponsible drug taker,” came to overshadow his life. And he said press intrusion was “the main factor” in his breakup with Ms. Davy.
What happens next?
The judge’s decision will most likely be handed down two to three months after the end of the trial, said Ahlia Rateb, a clerk to the judge.