Prince Harry can sue The Sun publisher for damages, judge rules
Prince Harry will be permitted to bring a portion of his damages case against The Sun’s publisher to a High Court trial.
The Duke of Sussex‘s claim regarding phone hacking was rejected by Mr. Justice Fancourt, but the remainder of his claim, which dealt with other allegations of illegal information gathering, including the use of private investigators, could still go to trial.
He wouldn’t permit the duke to change his argument to rely on a “secret agreement” between senior News Group Newspapers (NGN) executives and Buckingham Palace.
Harry claims that journalists and private investigators working for NGN publications The Sun and the now-defunct News Of The World unlawfully targeted him and is suing for damages.
NGN requested that Mr. Justice Fancourt dismiss the duke’s case at a previous hearing in April, arguing that it was brought too late because the duke should have been aware of his potential claim earlier.
The judge stated in his written decision: “I am satisfied that there is no reasonable prospect of the duke proving at trial that he did not know and could not reasonably have discovered facts that would show that he had a worthwhile claim for voicemail interception in relation to each of the News of the World and The Sun.”
He already knew that in regards to articles published by the News Of The World, and he could have easily learned by performing some simple research that he was likely to have a similar claim in regards to articles published by The Sun.
According to an NGN spokesperson, the decision represented a significant victory.
The judge, Mr. Justice Fancourt, concluded that his claims regarding the purported “secret agreement” were not tenable or credible.
It is abundantly clear that no such agreement ever existed, and the only person to ever claim there was one is the Duke.
Hugh Grant’s allegations of illegal information gathering will also be tested.
Other than allegations of phone hacking, Mr. Justice Fancourt ruled in May that a claim by actor Hugh Grant regarding alleged illegal information gathering could move forward and be tried in January.
Grant, 62, is suing NGN specifically regarding The Sun after reaching a 2012 settlement with the publisher over a claim involving the News Of The World.
The News of the World, which closed in 2011, was implicated in the phone-hacking scandal. NGN has previously settled a number of claims, but it has consistently denied that The Sun engaged in illegal information gathering.
In recent months, Harry 38, has fought in six court cases at the High Court.
As part of his civil litigation, he has filed lawsuits against the Home Office regarding his personal security as well as three major newspaper publishers over claims of unauthorized information gathering.