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Prince Harry settles UK hacking claim with ‘substantial’ payout

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Prince Harry (File photo)

London: Britain’s Prince Harry will receive a “substantial” payout after he settled the remainder of his phone hacking claims against the Mirror Group Network (MGN) of newspapers, it emerged at a hearing in the High Court in London on Friday.

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The lawyer for Duke of Sussex, who is now based in the US with wife Meghan and kids Archie and Lilibet, said at the costs hearing that the newspaper publisher had now accepted it would pay "a substantial additional sum" by way of damages and Harry’s legal costs.

It follows a High Court ruling in December last year that phone hacking was carried out at MGN from 1996 and 2011 and was "widespread and habitual" from 1998.

In a statement read on behalf of Prince Harry outside court, his lawyer said: "Everything we said was happening at Mirror Group was in fact happening, and indeed far worse as the court ruled in its extremely damning judgment.

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"As the court said this morning we have uncovered and proved the shockingly dishonest way in which the Mirror acted for so many years and then sought to conceal the truth.

"In light of all this, we call again for the authorities to uphold the rule of law and to prove that no one is above it." Singling out former ‘Mirror’ tabloid editor Piers Morgan, who Harry said “knew perfectly well” what was going on, the statement added: "Even his own employer realised it simply could not call him as a witness of truth. His contempt for the court's ruling and his continued attacks ever since demonstrate why it was so important to obtain a clear and detailed judgment." Morgan has repeatedly denied any knowledge of hacking claims.

Harry’s lawyer David Sherborne told the court that MGN would make an interim payment of GBP 400,000.

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“We are pleased to have reached this agreement, which gives our business further clarity to move forward from events that took place many years ago and for which we have apologised," an MGN spokesperson said.

Back in December, Harry was awarded GBP 140,600 in damages after winning 15 claims against MGN. Friday’s settlement relates to unlawful intrusion claims on 115 more stories.

The 39-year-old younger son of King Charles III was among several high-profile figures bringing claims against MGN, accusing the publisher of the ‘Daily Mirror’, ‘Sunday Mirror’ and ‘Sunday People’ of unlawful intrusion into their private lives for stories.

The final figure of costs is yet to be assessed, but the High Court in London heard the group of people who sued the publisher were currently seeking payment of over a million pounds from MGN towards the legal costs of bringing those allegations to court.

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