Prince Harry's phone hacking trial enters second day of his evidence
Prince Harry tells High Court what he thinks is in the public interest on second day of his evidence at phone hacking trial – amid testy exchange with lawyer who tells him, ‘Could I ask the questions?’
Prince Harry today told the High Court what he believed was in the public interest – amid a series of testy exchanges with a lawyer who told him: ‘Could I ask the questions?’
The duke – who is suing Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) for damages over claims journalists at its titles used hacking, ‘blagging’ and other illegal means of deception – repeatedly clashed with the KC representing the publisher during the second day of his cross-examination.
Andrew Green KC told the prince after one fractious exchange: ‘Could I just repeat what I said yesterday – this is about me asking you questions, not you asking me questions.’
Meanwhile Harry repeatedly pushed back against the barrister’s line of questioning, telling him several times: ‘I’ll take your word for it.’
Harry, 38, alleges that about 140 articles published between 1996 and 2010 by MGN publications contained information gathered using unlawful methods, and 33 of these have been selected to be considered at the trial.
A court artist’s sketch of Prince Harry being cross-examined by Andrew Green KC, acting for Mirror Group Newspapers
Mr Green asked the duke about an article published in the Sunday People in May 2005 about him having a knee injury and fellow cadets at Sandhurst complaining he was given ‘preferential treatment’ by being let off ‘gruelling marches’.
The barrister asked about a press release issued by Clarence House about the injury, which included a quote from Harry. He asked the duke whether he stood by the evidence in his witness statement, in which he said he wasn’t ‘going around discussing any medical issues or injuries’.
Harry replied: ‘Yes, it is entirely accurate. That is a reference to while I was at Sandhurst and the distrust that I ended up having … with the medical staff at Sandhurst.’
Updates from day one of the trial
- Harry attacked the media and blasted the UK’s ‘rock-bottom’ government;
- He described Princess Diana’s former butler Paul Burrell as a ‘two-faced s***’;
- He said stories about James Hewitt being his ‘biological father’ made him fear ‘I might be ousted from the Royal Family’;
- He said he worried he would be expelled from Eton for taking drugs;
- He said he made a ‘stupid decision’ at a fancy dress party where he was accused of ‘flirting with a brunette’ while dating Chelsy Davy;
- He said could not remember the details of a hunting trip he went on with Ms Davy to South Africa in 2005;
- He claimed ‘horrific personal attacks and intimidation’ on him and Meghan were allegedly made by former editor Piers Morgan;
- Harry was accused by barrister Andrew Green KC of being ‘in the realms of total speculation’;
- Duke repeatedly said, ‘You’d have to ask the journalists themselves’ when asked how he could prove articles had been hacked;
- At some moments he had trouble locating evidence on the screen in front of him. ‘It is on the screen in front of you,’ Mr Green told him. ‘It is not,’ said Harry. ‘I think it is,’ said the lawyer. ‘If you say so,’ said Harry;
- In one exchange he told Mr Green, ‘As a chef, he would be too busy to make that call.’ In riposte, Mr Green suggested that he would have other chefs working for him. ‘I have no idea, I have never worked in a kitchen,’ replied the prince.
Mr Green then turned to an article published in the Independent newspaper on the same day as the People article, and asked the duke if he accepted there was a degree of public interest in the story.
Yesterday, Harry said there was ‘a difference between the public interest and what is in the interests of the public’.
Harry replied today: ‘No, I do not.’
Mr Green asked the duke what he thought a public interest story about him would be.
‘I’m not entirely sure, I’d be speculating,’ Harry replied.
‘Well could you speculate for a moment,’ Mr Green said.
Harry said it could be in the public interest to report ‘a life-threatening injury’ he had suffered.
At one point in the cross-examination, the royal spoke directly to the judge.
Mr Green responded: ‘Could I ask the questions?’
In another testy exchange, Harry was asked if he would be happy or disappointed to find out that his phone had never been hacked by Mirror Group journalists.
‘That would be speculating,’ Harry replied.
He said there was ‘industrial scale hacking’ occurring at newspapers, so would feel it was an ‘injustice’ if this was not ‘proved’ in his case.
‘So you want your phone to have been hacked,’ Mr Green said.
‘No one wants to have been phone hacked,’ Harry replied.
Mr Green questioned Harry about a September 2007 People article that claimed his relationship at the time was ‘in crisis after a string of bitter bust-ups’.
Harry told the court that the ‘whole article itself is suspicious’, adding: ‘I never discussed with the Palace any details of my relationship with my girlfriend.’
Mr Green asked the duke if he was alleging that information in the story came from phone hacking.
‘Yes,’ Harry said, adding: ‘I say that everything that has been attributed to a Palace source… was obtained unlawfully.
‘The Palace wouldn’t know this information.’
Mr Green said the prince was in the ‘land of total speculation about where this information might have come from’.
‘Not at all, I disagree,’ Harry responded.
Mr Green also used the phrase yesterday when Harry said he was ‘not sure’ whose phone was hacked when he broke his thumb playing football at Eton and it appeared in the media.
Prince Harry waved and smiled as he arrived at the High Court in London this morning
Harry is greeted outside the Rolls Building of the High Court
The duke then claimed another Mirror article about his breakup with Chelsy Davy had been obtained through voicemail interception.
The article ‘Down in the dumped’ reported on an ’emotional phone call’ in which Ms Davy apparently asked for a trial separation.
Harry said in his witness statement yesterday that the piece included ‘a quote from a ”friend”, that said we needed some time out, but that we were likely to get back together’.
But he said neither he nor Ms Davy had ever spoken about what happened to anyone outside their closest friends.
Harry said he thought the information could have been obtained through voicemail, but confirmed he did not specifically recall leaving a voicemail as it happened so long ago.
Mr Green said the trial separation was ‘already widely reported’ in the Sunday papers. ‘I’ll take your word for it, Mr Green,’ Harry replied.
Mr Green arriving for the second day of Harry’s cross-examination at the High Court in London
Prince Harry is suing Mirror Group Newspapers for damages over claims that 140 articles published by its titles between 1996 and 2010 contained information gathered using unlawful methods
Harry carried a bundle of documents in his hand as he entered the court
Referring to a December 2007 article about Harry dropping Ms Davy off after she spent the night at Kensington Palace, which included a paparazzi photograph of Ms Davy, Mr Green suggested that was something ‘anyone could have observed’.
The barrister said there were often photographers outside the palace, to which Harry said: ‘They were only there for pretty much emergencies or big moments of the Royal Family – weddings, engagements, hospital visits.’
Mr Green said: ‘There were there on this occasion,’ to which Harry replied: ‘That is why it’s suspicious.’
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The prince said he suspected he had seen the article at the time of publication as he believed his security team would have alerted him to it.
Mr Green also mentioned a Sunday Mirror article about Harry’s breakup with Ms Davy, which was headlined ‘Hooray Harry’s dumped’ and contained reports of a ‘vodka binge’.
The duke said it was ‘hurtful to say the least’ that ‘such a private moment was turned into a bit of a laugh’.
Mr Green said the nickname had been used to describe the royal in previous stories.
‘It was not celebrating the demise of your relationship,’ he added.
In a 49-page witness statement unveiled yesterday, the duke said that he found it ‘very hard to trust anyone, which led to bouts of depression and paranoia’.
‘Friendships were lost entirely unnecessarily,’ he said, later adding that some of his friends ‘became instant targets’.
David Sherborne, Prince Harry’s lead lawyer, smiles to the cameras at he arrives in court today
Cardboard boxes are carried into the High Court this morning ahead of the hearing
The duke later said that he can now see ‘how much of my life was wasted on this paranoia’, adding: ‘I’ve always heard people refer to my mother as paranoid, but she wasn’t.
‘She was fearful of what was actually happening to her and now I know that I was the same.’
READ A RECAP OF HACKING TRIAL DAY 1 – Harry admits Spare contradicts evidence
Mr Green questioned Harry on about 20 of the 33 articles over the course of yesterday.
Harry was asked about why he has complained about articles in MGN titles when the same information had previously been put into the public domain by other media outlets.
The duke said his understanding was that MGN journalists used unlawful methods to get ‘exclusive’ angles on existing stories or to move the story on in some way.
Mr Green also asked Harry about his claim that articles ’caused him to be paranoid and to distrust those around him’, and whether he was referring to specific MGN articles or ‘the general effect of all of the articles’ about him.
Harry said: ‘Yes, because … it is 20 years ago and I simply can’t other than speculate whether I saw these articles at the time.
‘I certainly saw a lot of articles at the time and was made aware … unfortunately, by the behaviour and reaction of my inner circle.’
The duke added that when information he had told to only a few members of his inner circle was made public, ‘your circle of friends starts to shrink’.
The Duke of Sussex faced five gruelling hours of cross-examination yesterday
MGN is contesting his claim and has either denied or not admitted that the articles about Harry being examined at the trial involved phone hacking or unlawful activity.
At the start of the duke’s individual case on Monday, Mr Green said there was ‘simply no evidence capable of supporting the finding that the Duke of Sussex was hacked, let alone on a habitual basis’ and that payment records used in the duke’s claim ‘simply do not demonstrate unlawful conduct or knowledge thereof’.
Harry’s claim is being heard alongside three other ‘representative’ claims in a trial which began last month and is due to last six to seven weeks.
The three other representative claimants are Coronation Street actor Michael Turner – known professionally as Michael Le Vell -who is best known for playing Kevin Webster in the long-running soap, former Coronation Street actress Nikki Sanderson, and comedian Paul Whitehouse’s ex-wife Fiona Wightman.
BELOW IS HARRY’S FULL WRITTEN WITNESS STATEMENT
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