Harry’s privacy claim ‘should be thrown out’ as it was ‘too late’

Piers Morgan lambasts Prince Harry over privacy hearing

Prince Harry’s privacy lawsuit against Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL) “should be thrown out” as it was brought “far too late”, the High Court has heard from the publisher’s lawyers. The royal is amomgst a number of high profile figures, including Sir Elton John, Sadie Frost and Baroness Doreen Lawrence, who have brought claims against the Daily Mail’s publisher over allegations it obtained information through illegal or unlawful means, an accusation ANL has denied.

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Harry unexpectedly made an appearance at the High Court in London for the first two days of the hearing, although he was not present for the third day.

Lawyers for ANL have said the challenges have “no real prospects of succeeding” at a trial and argued the case should be dismissed or a judgement made in its favour without going to trial.

However, the legal team representing the Duke and others have hit back, saying ANL’s bid is “hopeless, plainly inappropriate and suggestive of a tactical gamble” to avoid a full trial.

Harry and other celebrities such as Elizabeth Hurley and Sadie Frost allege that ANL hired private investigators to place listening devices inside cars, “blag” private records, and access and record private phone conversations over a period starting from 1993.

Adrian Beltrami KC, for the publisher, told the court on Wednesday: “The claims are rejected by the defendant in their entirety as are the unfounded allegations that are repeatedly made that the defendant either misled the Leveson Inquiry or concealed evidence from the Leveson Inquiry.”

He added that some of the claims were “barred” due to the legal period of limitation, saying: “Whatever claims the claimants had or may have had have been brought far too late.”

Mr Beltrami said in written arguments that the privacy claims against ANL could have been brought before October 2016 and that “almost the entirety” of cases could with “reasonable diligence” have been discovered before that date.

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Prince Harry has openly criticised the British press for their practices in the Sussex Netflix docu-series and in his memoir Spare, published in January.

In a witness statement released on Tuesday, Harry has alleged that journalists at ANL “are criminals with journalistic powers which should concern every single one of us”.

ANL have in turn accused Harry of being “obsessed” with its publications, saying his allegations are “untrue, inflammatory and deeply offensive”.

In his statement the prince wrote: “If the Defendant, the owner of various national newspapers, including The Daily Mail which, by its own definition, is the most influential and popular newspaper in the UK, can evade justice without there being a trial of my claims then what does that say about the industry as a whole and the consequences for our great country.

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“Unfair is not a big enough word to describe the fact that Associated is trying at this early stage to prevent me from bringing my claim.

“I do not see why Associated should get away with something they have covered up and lied about for however many years.”

He added: “There is obviously a personal element to bringing this claim but it is not just about me.

“There is also a social element as, if the most influential newspaper company can successfully evade justice, then in my opinion the whole country is doomed.”

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