Arts & Entertainment

Prince Harry accuses tabloids of sparking ‘acute paranoia’ in phone hacking trial

(Update 1: Reledes, changes headline, adds details from Prince Harry’s witness statement)

London, Jun 6 (EFE).- Prince Harry accused the British tabloids of “vile” behavior to obtain exclusive stories at a court hearing on Tuesday to give evidence in his case against the Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) which he accuses of illegal practices.

In his witness statement at the High Court in central London, Prince Harry said he now realized that his “acute paranoia of being constantly under surveillance was not misplaced after all.”

King Charles III’s youngest son has filed a lawsuit against MGN alleging that journalists from its newspapers, including the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror and The People, used unlawful practices, such as wiretapping private phones and hiring detectives to collect personal information on the prince and those closest to him.

Prince Harry and three other people are taking the publisher to court over unlawful information gathering that Harry’s lawyer, David Sherborne, described as “acting like a web” around the prince since his childhood and into adulthood.

The case involves around 140 articles published between 1996 and 2010 that contained information collected using “unlawful information gathering,” according to Harry’s team.

Of these stories, 33 will be examined during the trial.

In Harry’s witness statement, he explained how the actions of members of the press “affected every area of my life.”

Harry explained how the stories that he says were sourced through illegal hacking not only generated security concerns but also damaged his relationships.

“It created a huge amount of paranoia in my relationships. I would become immediately suspicious of anyone that was named in a story about me,” he wrote.

“I felt that I couldn’t trust anybody, which was an awful feeling for me especially at such a young age,” Harry said.

Barrister Andrew Green said there was no evidence of phone hacking, “zilch, zero, nil, de nada, niente, nothing,” when laying out the publisher’s defense.

The Duke of Sussex told the court he felt “physically sick” after learning of eight payments to private investigators related to his late mother Diana, Princess of Wales.

The prince added that he was also upset to also discover the “13 private investigator payments” for Chelsea Davy, his ex-girlfriend.

“Had she not been in a relationship with me, she would never have had to endure such a horrific experience at the hands of MGN’s journalists,” the prince added.

“There are even eight private investigator payments made in relation to my mother, which I have only learned of since bringing my claim. This makes me feel physically sick,” he said.

The prince did not appear in court on Monday, the first day of the trial, prompting Judge Timothy Fancourt to say he was “a little surprised” Harry was absent on the first day of his court showdown with MGN.

Harry previously attended the High Court in March for a preliminary hearing in his separate claim against Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL) – the publisher of the Daily Mail and Mail On Sunday.

The prince has also brought legal action against News Group Newspapers, publisher of The Sun, over unlawful information gathering and is awaiting a decision on whether that claim can go to trial in January next year.EFE


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