Lawyer says Prince Harry's words undermine phone hack case

Streaming HUBApril 27, 2023

LONDON (AP) – A lawyer for the publisher of The Sun tabloid used Prince Harry’s own words Thursday to argue that his phone hacking lawsuit should be thrown out.

Attorney Anthony Hudson said emails sent from the Duke of Sussex to the royal family’s chief spokesman indicated he knew enough about the allegations against the publisher to be able to bring the lawsuit in time.

Hudson said that Harry first learned that one of her voicemails had been intercepted in 2006 and knew that he had claimed to have brought it in 2012.

But the prince began making further advances to Buckingham Palace only to pressure the British newspaper arm of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire to apologize for hacking his phone in late 2017 and early 2018.

According to court records, the Duke of Sussex emailed the royal family’s chief spokesperson in February 2018, saying “an ultimatum is needed or else this institution and everything it stands for becomes a laughing stock.”

After a three-day hearing at the High Court, Hudson asked a judge to throw out the hacking suit brought by Harry and actor Hugh Grant, arguing that they had to file the claim within the six-year deadline. Had enough knowledge.

“To suggest that they can’t start … is completely disingenuous, untrue and fanciful… the claims they’ve come up with,” Hudson said.

Justice Timothy Fancourt said he would rule at a later date.

The litigation is one of several suits brought by Harry in his battle against the British tabloid press, which risks alienating him from his family by exposing palace secrets and amplifying the grievances aired in his explosive memoir “Spare”.

Court papers filed this week said Prince William, his brother, allegedly received a “huge sum” from Murdoch’s papers to “quietly” go in 2020 to settle hacking allegations. Harry also said that his father instructed palace staff to order the lawsuit to be dropped because it was bad for the family.

Attorney David Sherborne argued that the prince and Grant knew about the hacking by a rogue reporter at the former News of the World, which was owned by Murdoch, but did not know that until a much larger scandal broke out in 2011. How widespread was the interception? out of the paper business.

Sherborne said the two were prevented from knowing about the snooping by The Sun, another of Murdoch’s newspapers, because executives at the newsgroup’s newspapers hid evidence and lied. He argued that the cover-up created an exception to the deadline for filing a lawsuit.

Sherborne also argued that Harry was prevented from bringing the case because of the royal family’s “secret agreement” with Murdoch’s company. Harry said the purported agreement was designed to save the royal family from testifying in court and being faced with embarrassing evidence.

Harry said he was told he could not file a lawsuit because the settlement – approved by the late Queen Elizabeth II – gave the royal family amnesty after the newsgroup reached a settlement and settled its other litigation in the voicemail hacking scandal. asked to issue.

Fancourt said he was troubled by a “factual inconsistency” between Harry’s claim that he did not have knowledge prior to 2019 to bring the suit and the prince’s assertion that he would have brought the case in 2012 if not for the secret agreement. ,

But Sherborne said he didn’t have enough knowledge to file a claim in 2012 because he only knew of one instance of hacking.

When it seemed the newsgroup was stalling, Harry got fed up and filed a lawsuit against the company in 2019.

The newsgroup denied the existence of a secret agreement and said that The Sun “does not accept responsibility or accept the allegations.” It had no comment on the reported deal with William.

Buckingham Palace did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment on the alleged settlement or the settlement allegedly paid to William, who is heir to the throne.

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