Pre-trial Hearing Against British Media Heats Up, Prince Harry Accused of Deliberately Destroying Evidence

Prince Harry

Know Your Idol – The trial of a case of alleged illegal information gathering at the UK High Court is heating up. During the trial, the publisher of The Sun newspaper, News Group Newspaper (NGN) accused Prince Harry of “deliberately destroying” evidence in the case.

The publisher wishes to present written releases, WhatsApp messages and emails exchanged between the Duke of Sussex and King Charles III’s private secretary, Sir Clive Alderton’ custodian of the Privy Seal, Sir Michael Stevens; and his memoirist, JR Moehringer, as proof.

NGN representatives said that the royal party and JR communicated via Signal regarding Harry’s memoir book entitled Spare. However, their chat history was deleted before the book was published in January 2023.

The Hotmail address that Harry used in 2014 can no longer be accessed. Two email accounts were searched for the 55 key terms requested by NGN. Anthony Hudson KC representing the publication claimed Harry and his legal team were ‘trying to create obstacles’.

In a pretrial hearing, he said FOR4D, “There has to be proper evidence of this. The messages were clearly under his control, even if they have been deleted. That’s why we say text and WhatsApp searches are important.”

“This is, I am afraid, another example of confusion with respect to the plaintiff’s case. We find it surprising and extraordinary that the plaintiff would deliberately destroy…”

Prince Harry’s camp reacts

Hudson’s statement was then interrupted by Judge Justice Fancourt who said it was ‘unclear’ what happened with the messages. Harry’s lawyer, David Sherbone, also accused the request to present evidence as just a “hoax.”

Responding to Hudson, Sherborne said claims that Duke was “dragging his feet, had to be dragged kicking and screaming, had set up some kind of obstacle course” were untrue. He added that only a ‘few’ of the 35,000 emails sought were ‘relevant’ to the case.

The trial occurred after Harry and 40 other people sued NGN FOR4D for alleged unlawful collection of information and invasion of privacy. A trial date for this case has been set for January 2025.

The case has been raging for several months and Duke has experienced ups and downs in his legal journey. Last month, Judge Fancourt dismissed new claims against the group’s former owner, Rupert Murdoch, saying they added ‘nothing material’, but said some other amendments could be made.

Another Lawsuit Case Filed by Harry

This is not the only lawsuit Harry has filed against a number of British media. Harry appeared at the High Court to attend a hearing against Associated Newspapers Ltd (ANL), publisher of the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday, alleging illegal information gathering.

Prince Harry, wearing a suit and tie, waved as he walked into the courthouse. The four-day trial considered legal arguments from both sides and ended with a judge’s decision on whether the case should go to trial. ANL argued that the case should be dismissed.

Prince Harry and other high-profile celebrities, including Elton John, singer David Furnish’s husband, Elizabeth Hurley, MP Doreen Lawrence and Jude Law’s ex-wife Sadie Frost, sued ANL. When the case was announced in October 2022, Prince Harry’s lawyers claimed that he was among several individuals who “are aware of compelling and deeply distressing evidence that they have been victims of abhorrent criminal activity and¬†egregious¬†violations of privacy by Associated Newspapers.”

Allegations of Illegal Information Collection Practices

The plaintiffs allege in their lawsuit that unlawful practices include the placement of listening devices in their cars and homes by private investigators, the surreptitious recording of private telephone calls, and the payment of police “with corrupt links to private investigators” for sensitive information.

Other illegal methods used include impersonation to obtain medical information from hospitals and treatment facilities and illegal manipulation to access bank accounts, credit histories, and other financial transactions. ANL FOR4D denied the allegations, calling them “absurd slander,” the BBC reported.

One of ANL’s attorneys, Adrian Beltrami, said in the filing that any plaintiff would need to show that they did not know, or could not have discovered beforehand, that they might be able to bring a claim against ANL for alleged misuse of their personal information.

“The plaintiffs have failed to show that they have any real prospect of discharging their burden at trial and the court should not hesitate to dismiss these frivolous claims at an early stage, thereby avoiding a major waste of time, expense and loss of court resources,” PA quoted Beltrami’s words.

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