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Prince Harry loses application in Mirror phone-hacking trial

The civil trial has just finished its third week, and will return again in June, when Prince Harry is expected to give evidence in the High Court - Victoria Jones/PA
The civil trial has just finished its third week, and will return again in June, when Prince Harry is expected to give evidence in the High Court - Victoria Jones/PA

The Duke of Sussex has lost a legal application in his phone-hacking trial against Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN).

It comes just days after a judge denied the Duke’s application for a legal challenge in his separate legal case against the Home Office.

David Sherborne, the lawyer representing Prince Harry and several other claimants against MGN, made an application to enter three new witness statements into evidence on Friday morning.

He argued the evidence is “important” and that there was “good reason” why the statements had not been provided sooner.

The witnesses all came forward since the trial began on May 10, and David Sherborne (pictured) argued this was due to claims put forward on the publisher’s behalf ‘they believe are untrue’ - Jeff Gilbert
The witnesses all came forward since the trial began on May 10, and David Sherborne (pictured) argued this was due to claims put forward on the publisher’s behalf ‘they believe are untrue’ - Jeff Gilbert

However, Mr Justice Fancourt rejected the applications, saying it “comes very late” and “requires a degree of investigation on the part of the defendant in order to be able to deal with it”.

The witnesses all came forward since the trial began on May 10, and Mr Sherborne argued this was due to claims put forward on the publisher’s behalf “they believe are untrue”.

“I do not consider it would be in the interest of fairness of the trial as a whole that this new evidence be admitted at such a late stage,” Mr Fancourt said, explaining his judgement.

The civil trial has just finished its third week, and will return again in June, when Prince Harry is expected to give evidence in the High Court.

Days after another denial

The application rejections in his Mirror trial comes days after a judge denied the Duke’s application for a legal challenge in his separate legal case against the Home Office.

The Duke was not entitled to make personal representations over the decision to deny him the right to pay for his police protection, the judge said on Tuesday.

He had applied for a judicial review based on his offer to pay, which he claimed should have prompted the Home Office to “quash and retake” its decision.

Hugh Grant denied

Meanwhile, Hugh Grant has been denied the chance to take separate phone-hacking claims against the publisher of The Sun newspaper to trial.

Mr Grant, 62, is bringing legal action alleging he was targeted by journalists and private investigators against News Group Newspapers (NGN) in relation to The Sun only, having previously settled a claim with the publisher in 2012 relating to the now defunct News Of The World.

NGN, which denies any unlawful activity took place at The Sun, brought a bid to have both Mr Grant’s claim and a similar claim by the Duke of Sussex thrown out at a hearing in London last month, arguing that both men had left it too late to file their claims.

In a ruling on Friday, Mr Justice Fancourt concluded Mr Grant’s claim could proceed to trial, except for any allegations relating to phone hacking.

Other claims will have to be tried

The judge found that Mr Grant could have brought a claim for phone hacking sooner, as he had knowledge of it, but that his other claims will have to be tried.

Mr Grant, who attended court for some of last month’s hearing, alleges among other things that he was targeted using “burglaries to order”.

In a witness statement, the Love Actually star said: “My claim concerns unlawful acts committed by The Sun, including burglaries to order, the breaking and entering of private property in order to obtain private information through bugging, landline tapping, phone hacking, and the use of private investigators to do all these and other illegal things against me.”