Prince Harry urged to provide ‘hard evidence’ to back up phone hacking claims

Prince Harry was repeatedly asked to provide ‘hard evidence’ to support his phone hacking claims in the newspapers on Wednesday as he told the High Court he had brought the case to protect his wife Meghan from abuse.

Despite his suspicions of widespread hacking, the Duke of Sussex said he ‘didn’t know’ the answer to questions put to him by Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) lawyer Andrew Green KC 18 times in just three hours .

The 38-year-old prince accused the publishers of ‘industrial-scale destruction of evidence’ and blamed the lack of call data on the alleged use of ‘burner’ phones, of which no records were kept.

“I believe the phone hacking was on an industrial scale in at least three of the newspapers at the time and there is no doubt about that,” he told the court.

Citing Meghan as his main motivation for taking legal action over alleged unlawful information-gathering, Harry admitted he would feel “some injustice” if his claim was unsuccessful. At one point during his testimony, Harry appeared choked as he addressed the personal toll of his time on the witness stand.

But asked by Mr Green about the lack of evidence to prove illegal information gathering, Harry said: “I think that’s a question for my legal team.

“There is hard evidence to suggest an incredible amount of distrust and I think cellphones have been widely used.”

When asked if there was a particular voicemail that he said had been intercepted, he replied: “I can’t remember a specific voicemail that I left in the last 20 years.”

This alleged intrusion – which he told the court ‘could have’ been happening for 15 years – prompted him to act to try to end the ‘abuse and intrusions’ affecting Meghan without having to rely on the lawyers of the royal family.

He said: “I think (the ongoing legal action) was a discussion of how to find a way to end the abuse and intrusion that was happening to me and my wife…without relying on the lawyers of the institution.”

During questioning, Harry also alleged that he found a tracking device on his ex-girlfriend Chelsy Davy’s car when the pair were on a ‘make or break’ holiday in South Africa amid of the 2000s.

Harry said he was motivated to take legal action to prevent his wife from being subjected to the same treatment (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Harry said he was motivated to take legal action to prevent his wife from being subjected to the same treatment (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

He said he was placed there by private detective Mike Behr – who he also blamed for targeting him on other occasions – before claiming another device was found on his own car by a friend.

When his attorney David Sherborne asked how he could be sure what it was, he replied, “Because we found it.”

Harry claimed the intrusion of the press led him to break up with Ms Davy in 2009.

He also said he believed articles about his brief relationship with late TV presenter Caroline Flack had been obtained through phone hacking.

The Duke is among four figures seeking damages from the publisher, claiming journalists from titles such as the DailyMirror, sunday mirror And Sunday peoplewere linked to methods such as phone hacking, so-called “blogging” or obtaining information by deception, and the use of private investigators for illegal activities.

MGN denies all of his claims, although he previously admitted the phone hack took place in his titles, but claims the Duke was never a target.

During hours of cross-examination by Mr Green, Harry accused Piers Morgan – editor of the Mirror between 1995 and 2004 – “horrible personal attacks and intimidation”.

He previously accused him of knowing about a phone hack while he was on the phone. Mirror – something Mr. Morgan has always denied.

Harry also suggested that newspaper articles claiming his father was Princess Diana’s former lover James Hewitt were aimed at ousting him from the royal family.

Prince Harry has blamed the breakdown of his relationship with Chelsy Davy on press intrusion (Getty Images)

Prince Harry has blamed the breakdown of his relationship with Chelsy Davy on press intrusion (Getty Images)

To back up his claims, he told the court that the voicemails on his phone would not sound new, even if he hadn’t heard them – or that the “new mail” icon on the screen would disappear.

“Can you help by identifying when… you experienced this strange activity?” asked the judge.

“From when I had a mobile phone,” Prince Harry replied – that is, when he went to Eton as a teenager.

This prompted the judge to ask, “Are you saying this continued throughout the period?”

“It never stopped,” replied the duke.

As he prepared to leave the dock, Harry appeared to choke when his lawyer asked him about the record of his court appearance.

“That’s a lot,” he said in a broken voice.

After giving evidence, Harry remained in court to watch the MirrorFormer royal editor and assistant editor Jane Kerr testifies.

In her witness statement, Ms Kerr described calling various agencies which provided phone numbers for the newspaper needed to cover breaking news.

Ms Kerr said she ‘knew what she was doing but that was a long time ago’, after Mr Sherborne claimed she seemed ‘to have no idea what you were doing at the time “.

Pushing further, the lawyer asked: “You called people, you had no idea what they did – they magically produced phone numbers and you never asked. questions?”, to which Ms. Kerr replied, “Yes.”

In total, Harry alleges that approximately 140 articles published by MGN between 1996 and 2010 contained information gathered using illegal methods, and 33 of them were selected for consideration at trial.

The other claimants are Coronation Street actor Michael Turner, known professionally as Michael Le Vell, who is best known for playing Kevin Webster, former Coronation Street actress Nikki Sanderson and comedian’s ex-wife Paul Whitehouse Fiona Wightman.

MGN disputes the allegations and has denied or denied each of them.

The publisher also argues that some of the plaintiffs filed their lawsuit too late.

The trial continues.

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