Prince Harry wins damages over phone-hacking by British newspapers

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Britain’s Prince Harry was awarded 140,600 pounds (around $180,700) after London’s High Court ruled on Friday he had been the victim of “modest” phone-hacking and other unlawful information gathering by journalists on British newspapers.

The prince – who became the first senior British royal for 130 years to give evidence in court when he appeared as the star witness at the trial in June – had sued Mirror Group Newspapers, the publisher of the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror and Sunday People.

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Harry and about 100 other claimants – including actors, sports stars, celebrities and people who simply had a connection to high-profile figures – have taken legal action over allegations of phone-hacking and unlawful information-gathering between 1991 and 2011.

Harry said he was targeted by MGN for 15 years from 1996 and that more than 140 stories which appeared in its papers were the result of unlawful information gathering, though the trial only considered 33 of these.

“I found that 15 out of the 33 articles that were tried were the product of phone hacking of his mobile phone or the mobile phones of his associates, or the product of other unlawful information gathering,” Judge Timothy Fancourt said.

“I consider that his phone was only hacked to a modest extent, and that this was probably carefully controlled by certain people at each newspaper.”

The judge concluded there had been widespread hacking and unlawful activities at the paper of which senior executives were aware, although nearly all those on the board of the company had not been told. MGN, owned by Reach, had argued the accusations were not supported by the evidence.

“We welcome today’s judgment that gives the business the necessary clarity to move forward from events that took place many years ago,” an MGN spokesperson said.

“Where historical wrongdoing took place, we apologize unreservedly, have taken full responsibility and paid appropriate compensation.”

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