Prince Harry lawsuit against newspaper publisher set for May trial
LONDON (Reuters) -Britain's Prince Harry's lawsuit against the publisher of the Daily Mirror newspaper over allegations of phone hacking will go to trial in May, a judge at London's High Court ruled on Wednesday.
Harry, the Duke of Sussex, is one of several public figures whose lawsuits against Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) will be considered at the trial.
Judge Timothy Fancourt ruled on Wednesday that Harry's case, which alleges unlawful information gathering on behalf of MGN journalists between 1996 and 2011, should be part of the trial.
David Sherborne, a lawyer representing Harry and the other claimants, earlier told the court that Harry would be "the only witness" relied upon in his case – raising the prospect of the prince entering the witness box to give evidence.
Fancourt said on Wednesday that he thought Harry "will not settle" his case, based on what he says in his witness statement – which is not yet publicly available – as well as "everything he has said outside these proceedings".
Harry's case against MGN, launched in 2019, is one of several he is currently bringing against British newspapers, including a similar lawsuit against News Group Newspapers, the publisher of the now-defunct News of the World and The Sun.
He is also suing Associated Newspapers, the publisher of the Mail on Sunday, for libel over an article which said he tried to keep secret details of his legal fight to reinstate his police protection.
And Harry is one of several high-profile figures, including singer Elton John and actresses Elizabeth Hurley and Sadie Frost, bringing lawsuits against Associated Newspapers alleging phone-tapping and other privacy breaches.
Associated Newspapers has said that it "utterly and unambiguously" denies the allegations and the publisher's bid to throw the case out of court will be heard later this month.
The wave of litigation follows the collapse of Harry and his wife Meghan's relationship with Britain's media since their marriage in 2018.
Media intrusion was a major factor they cited in their decision to step down from royal duties and move to the United States two years ago.
Harry has since – in his memoir "Spare" and accompanying TV interviews – also accused other royals of leaking stories about him and his wife Meghan to tabloid newspapers.
(Reporting by Sam Tobin, editing by William James, Alexandra Hudson)