Journalists named in Harry’s court action against publisher

Dozens of journalists, including some national newspaper editors, have been named in documents as part of the Duke of Sussex’s High Court claim against the publisher of the Daily Mail.

Harry is among a group of high-profile individuals, including Baroness Doreen Lawrence, Sir Elton John, his husband David Furnish, actresses Sadie Frost and Liz Hurley and politician Sir Simon Hughes, bringing legal action against Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL).

They have accused the publisher of allegedly carrying out or commissioning unlawful activities such as hiring private investigators to place listening devices inside cars, “blagging” private records, burglaries to order, and accessing and recording private phone conversations.

No findings have been made in respect of the allegations and the legal claims are in the preliminary stages.

ANL, which has firmly denied the allegations, is defending the legal action.

In the publisher’s written defence, made public on Wednesday, Andrew Caldecott KC and Adrian Beltrami KC said the duke’s case “is without foundation and is an affront to the hard-working professional journalists whose reputations and integrity, as well as that of Associated itself, are wrongly traduced”.

In the documents setting out Harry’s claim, also made public on Wednesday, about 70 current or former journalists, including the editor-in-chief of The Sun Victoria Newton, editor of The Times Tony Gallagher, and editor of the Mail on Sunday, David Dillon, are named in relation to their time at ANL titles.

Harry’s barrister David Sherborne said in the written claim: “The claimant will contend that the information obtained by these private investigators on behalf of Associated and its journalists was unlawfully or illegally obtained, and was known or must have been known to be, or were obviously, to have been so obtained.”

However, Mr Caldecott and Mr Beltrami claimed in ANL’s written defence that the duke’s case is “replete with sweeping allegations of serious criminal conduct which lack even the most basic of particulars”.

They continued: “It is denied that Associated’s journalists widely and habitually carried out, or commissioned the carrying out of, illegal or unlawful information gathering activities.”

An Associated Newspapers spokesperson said: “Associated Newspapers has filed a trenchant defence of its journalism against claims of phone-hacking brought by Prince Harry, Baroness Doreen Lawrence, Sir Simon Hughes and a number of showbusiness celebrities.

“In papers submitted to the High Court, the publisher of the Daily Mail and The Mail On Sunday denied under oath that its journalists had commissioned or obtained information derived from phone hacking, phone tapping, bugging, computer or email hacking or burglary to order.

“Associated also denied claims made by Prince Harry and Baroness Lawrence that it commissioned private investigators Gavin Burrows and Jonathan Rees, as well as claims by Sir Simon Hughes that it commissioned convicted phone hacker Glenn Mulcaire.

“Indeed, it is highly significant that Gavin Burrows has retracted a statement he allegedly gave to the claimants, on which their case appears to be based.

“The publisher stands by its previous statements that the claims are preposterous and without foundation, and says in its defence submission that the case brought by the prince and others is ‘an affront to the hard-working journalists whose reputations and integrity, as well as those of Associated itself, are wrongly traduced’.

“It says that the stories concerned, many of which were published 20 or more years ago, and not subject to any complaint at the time, were the product of responsible journalism based on legitimate sources.”

Spokespeople on behalf of The Sun, The Times and The Sunday Times declined to comment.