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Prince Harry accepts substantial damages to settle hacking case

file photo: britain's prince harry, duke of sussex's lawsuit against a newspaper group, in london
The Duke of Sussex had accused the newspaper group of unlawfully gathering information to write stories about him

Prince Harry has settled the remainder of his lawsuit against Mirror Group Newspapers over phone-hacking and other unlawful acts after the publisher agreed to pay substantial damages and his legal costs, his lawyer told London’s High Court on Friday.

In December, the High Court ruled that Harry had been a victim of unlawful information gathering including phone-hacking by journalists on the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror and Sunday People tabloids with the knowledge of their editors.

However, that judgment only considered 33 of 148 articles Harry had complained about, ruling in his favour over 15 of these. His lawyer David Sherborne told the court MGN had now conceded the rest of his claim.

“Mirror Group Newspapers will pay the Duke of Sussex a substantial additional sum by way of damages,” Sherborne said.

King Charles’ younger son, who became the first senior British royal for 130 years to give evidence in court when he appeared at a trial in June, was originally awarded 140,600 pounds (around $180,700) after the judge agreed he had been unlawfully targeted by MGN journalists.

Harry was one of about 100 claimants – including actors, sports stars, celebrities and people who simply had a connection to high-profile figures – who have sued MGN, and he and three others were chosen as test cases.

Judge Timothy Fancourt concluded in December there had been widespread hacking and unlawful activities at MGN, such as “blagging”, or gaining information by deception, from 1996 until 2011, even carrying on while a public inquiry into illicit practices at British newspapers was taking place.

Sherborne said MGN would likely pay more than 2 million pounds to cover the claimants’ legal costs for their generic case, and an interim payment of 400,000 pounds towards the prince’s individual costs.

Harry was not in court for Friday’s hearing, having made a flying visit to Britain this week to see the king after his father told him he had been diagnosed with a form of cancer.

They were able to meet for under an hour on Tuesday before Charles left London for his home in eastern England where he is recuperating as he undergoes outpatient treatment for the condition. Harry left the following day to return to California.

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