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Mirror publisher apologises to Prince Harry for ordering the unlawful gathering of information
10 May 2023, 12:01 | Updated: 10 May 2023, 14:22
Mirror Group Newspapers has apologised to Prince Harry for using illegal methods of gathering information about him.
Documents submitted to the High Court in London show the publishers have denied phone hacking, but accepted that other tactics used in the past warrant compensation.
Andrew Green KC, representing Mirror Group Newspapers, said: “MGN unreservedly apologises for all such instances of unlawful information gathering” and assured that an apology at this stage is not a tactical move to reduce damages, but is made “because such conduct should never have occurred.”
A seven-week trial brought by the Duke of Sussex and other high-profile claimants against Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) has begun with opening arguments from lawyers on both sides.
Coronation Street co-stars Michael Turner, aka Michael Le Vell, who plays Kevin Webster and Nikki Sanderson sat at the back of the courtroom for the start of the hearing.
David Sherborne, who is representing them - alongside former Girls Aloud singer Cheryl and ex-footballer and TV pundit Ian Wright - told the court illegal methods of information gathering were “widespread and habitual” at The Daily Mirror and its sister publications up to at least 2011.
He claimed Prince Harry was subjected to the ‘most intrusive methods’ of having information about his life gathered, including as a child in the years after his mother died.
Mr Sherborne said: “Prince or not, the blatantly unlawful and secret methods used to get every bit of information about him, even away from his royal duties, was appalling and should not have happened.
“The unlawful methods used at all of the titles at Mirror Group Newspapers were habitual and widespread. They were used so frequently they became the stock-in-trade of journalists, part of their modus operandi and invaluable and indispensable weapons in the armoury of these journalists.”
It was argued in court that editors and managers across titles at MGN were undoubtedly aware of the commissioning of unlawful methods of information gathering, including Piers Morgan, who has always denied any knowledge of phone hacking during his time as editor at The Mirror.
Written evidence has also shown that Prince Harry believed the illegal approach by journalists at MGN contributed to the end of his relationship with Chelsy Davy.
Referencing the Duke of Sussex’s witness statement, Mr Sherborne said: "Every time he was in a relationship, or even a rumoured relationship, that whole person's family, and often their friends, would be 'dragged into the chaos'.
"They were never on their own, which 'placed a huge amount of unnecessary stress and strain' on their relationship.
"Ultimately, MGN's activities led Ms Davy to make the decision that 'a royal life was not for her'.” Mirror Group Newspapers is contesting the claims being made, arguing that some have been brought too late, dating back to 1995.
Seven of the claimants involved in the case against MGN will not give evidence, with representative cases being used to fight the argument.
Alongside the Duke of Sussex, actors Michael Turner and Nikki Sanderson and the ex-wife of comedian Paul Whitehouse, Fiona Whiteman, are expected to give evidence in person.