Britain’s Prince Harry on Wednesday faced stern cross-examination at the high court here from the barrister representing the Mirror Group Newspapers over the royal’s claims that its publications obtained stories related to his private life by unlawful means, including phone hacking.
On the second day of his witness statement, the 38-year-old Duke of Sussex was taken through the articles narrowed down for the purpose of the legal case and questioned at length over why he believes they were obtained unlawfully.
It included articles referring to his relationship with his ex-girlfriend Chelsy Davy and his military career serving in Afghanistan.
Harry told the court that he was convinced that "phone hacking was on an industrial scale" and that he "would feel an injustice if it wasn't accepted".
The newspaper group’s barrister, Andrew Green, suggested the royal is in the “realms of speculation” and challenged him on claims that his ex-girlfriend’s phone was being hacked at the time.
Taking him through the various articles published in the group’s ‘Daily Mirror’, ‘Sunday Mirror’, and ‘Sunday People’ titles, Green cast doubts over Harry’s claims and also raised the issue of some stories being in the public interest.
Harry countered to suggest that stories about injuries he has suffered could only be of public interest if it was “life-threatening”.
It follows his wide-ranging allegations of “utterly vile” unlawful information gathering on Tuesday when Prince Harry became the first senior royal in over 130 years to give evidence in a high court trial.
He accused the tabloid newspapers of “inciting hatred” against him as a young royal and casting him as a “thicko”, “cheat”, “underage drinker” and “irresponsible drug taker” – referring to some of the media labels he felt associated with over the years.
"It was a downward spiral, whereby the tabloids would constantly try and coax me, a 'damaged' young man, into doing something stupid that would make a good story and sell lots of newspapers. Looking back on it now, such behaviour on their part is utterly vile," he told the court, presided over by Justice Timothy Fancourt.
Harry, who stepped back as a working royal and now lives in the US with wife Meghan Markle and his two children Archie and Lilibet, flew in over the weekend to give evidence in the trial.
The royal said he decided to go to court to hold people to account for what they have done and that he was "determined to get to the bottom of it once and for all”.
His legal action forms part of a representative case against MGN, which denies the allegations. The Prince alleges around 140 articles published between 1996 and 2010 contained information gathered using unlawful methods and, according to court reports, 33 of these have been selected to be considered at the trial.
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