Harry will give evidence in a UK court case against a tabloid publisher

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Harry will give evidence in a UK court case against a tabloid publisher

LONDON, June 6 (Reuters) – Prince Harry will become the first senior British royal to testify in court in more than a century when he appears on Tuesday in his case against a publisher whose titles he accuses of phone hacking and other illegal activities.

Harry, fifth in line to the throne, failed to appear as expected on Monday at London’s High Court, where he and more than 100 others are suing Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN), the publisher of the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror and Sunday People, regarding allegations of widespread violations between 1991 and 2011.

However, King Charles’ younger son will on Tuesday and Wednesday face hours of cross-examination in the witness stand by Andrew Green, a lawyer for MGN, about 33 newspaper articles which he says are based on information that was obtained illegal.

This will make him the first senior royal to give evidence in 130 years.

The trial against MGN began last month, with lawyers for Harry and the other plaintiffs trying to prove that the illegal gathering of information was carried out with the knowledge and approval of senior editors and executives.

Harry is one of four test cases and his specific allegations form the focus of the first three days of this week.

However, Harry did not appear on Monday after leaving the US, where he now lives with his American wife Meghan, the night before as it was his daughter Lilibeth’s birthday on Sunday. Judge Timothy Fancourt said he was surprised by his absence.


Making the argument, the prince’s lawyer David Sherborne said Harry had been the subject of thousands of MGN stories since he was a little boy and as such was a regular target of illegal behaviour, with his late mother Princess Diana also a victim of hacking.

Harry wanted to focus attention on illegal activities rather than a “vendetta” against the press, Sherborne said.

MGN, now owned by Reach ( RCH.L ), did apologize early in the trial after admitting the Sunday People illegally sought information about Harry once and previously admitted its titles were involved in phone hacking, settling more over 600 claims.

But Green, MGN’s lawyer, said there was no evidence Harry had ever been a victim of phone hacking, let alone habitually, as he claimed, and denied he had been the victim of other illegal acts.

Buckingham Palace is likely to feature prominently in Harry’s cross-examination, with MGN claiming some of the personal information involved came from senior royal aides, including one of his father’s former senior staff.

Ironically, in his memoirs, Netflix documentary series and other TV interviews, the prince has repeatedly accused his family and their aides of conspiring with the tabloids to improve their reputation at his expense.

The palace has not commented on the allegations.

Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Alex Richardson

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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