Prince Harry attacks tabloids on final day of historic testimony


Prince Harry on Wednesday criticized a group of British tabloids he accuses of “phone hacking” on an “industrial scale” to illegally obtain information, as part of his landmark testimony before a British court.

The youngest son of King Charles III, aged 38, testified for five hours yesterday and for another three hours this Wednesday, at London’s High Court, where the Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) has been tried since May 10. It was the first court appearance by a member of the British royal family since 1891.

“It’s been difficult,” Harry admitted, visibly emotional when his lawyer, David Sherborne, asked him how he felt about recalling in public, analyzing 33 press articles, the media harassment he denounces.

Harry, two television actors and the ex-wife of a comedian accuse MGN, the editorial group run by the Mirror newspaper and Sunday People magazine, among other outlets, of obtaining information about them between 1996 and 2011 through illegal methods, which include intercepting messages in their mailboxes. “Telephone hacking took place on an industrial scale in at least three newspapers at the time and that is beyond doubt,” the Duke of Sussex said on Wednesday. If the court does not accept the allegations, “it would be an injustice,” he said.

Clive Goodman, a journalist for the News of the World newspaper — which is not owned by MGN — and private detective Glenn Mulcaire were sentenced in 2007 to several months in prison for hacking the phones of Harry and his older brother, William, now heir. of the British throne.


“How much more blood will stain the fingers with which they write before someone puts an end to this madness?” Asked the prince, who has lived in California since 2020 with his wife, the American Meghan Markle, in a written statement.

The couple cited pressure from the British sensationalist media and racist attacks on the actress among their reasons for leaving the monarchy and the United Kingdom.

Harry, who has had tense relations with the royal family ever since, said he feared something similar to the 1997 traffic accident in which his mother Princess Diana died while being chased by paparazzi in Paris could happen to his wife.

He also blames several tabloids, against which he has launched other legal battles, for the enmity with his family. At the end of March, Harry made a surprise appearance at London’s High Court for preliminary hearings against the ANL, publisher of the Daily Mail, also accused of using illicit methods in the collection of information by several celebrities, including singer Elton John. On that occasion, Harry did not testify.


Intense cross-examination by Andrew Green, an MGN lawyer, uncovered many private details about the prince’s life, from his relationship with his parents to his consumption of alcohol and drugs as a young man. Harry had to admit that much of this information was published by other newspapers, but he accused the Mirror of going further, obtaining information by illegal means that he said he could not prove because the evidence “was destroyed”.

Then, in response to a question from the judge, he recalled that, in 2004, he had to be removed from a farm in Argentina for security reasons and taken to the British embassy in Buenos Aires to return immediately to his country.

At the time, the press reported “the fear of a possible plan to kidnap him”. However, the prince said he only remembered “the amount of very aggressive paparazzi surrounding the farm and the local police saying that the only way to get rid of them was to pay”.

In the afternoon, Sherborne began questioning journalist Jane Kerr, former Deputy Editor-in-Chief and former royal correspondent for the Mirror. She said she “does not know” whether the information provided by her journalists and private detectives “was obtained by illegal means”. “It didn’t occur to me to ask,” she said, referring to methods used by collaborators such as Spanish journalist and former actor Franco Rey.

Kerr’s questioning will continue on Thursday (8). The trial against MGN is expected to continue with the other plaintiffs until June 30. The four are seeking compensation for the impact this information had on their lives. Earlier in the process, MGN acknowledged “some indications” of illegal intelligence gathering and apologized, but denied having intercepted voicemail messages.

Source: Folha

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