Prince Harry’s testimony in his lawsuit against the Mirror Group Newspapers ended yesterday, Wednesday, June 7th. He was on the stand for about a day and a half and he faced hours of cross-examination by MGN’s lawyers, and he was even asked some direct questions by the judge. The way this case is being reported and commented on many in the American and British media, many have gotten the impression that the case hinges solely on Harry’s word, or that Harry is responsible for providing incontrovertible proof of MGN’s phone hacking. None of that is accurate – Harry is one of several plaintiffs, and the court is already hearing for Mirror journalists and editors about their sourcing for various stories. This is far from the first legal action taken against MGN as well. Plus, as Harry noted in his testimony, MGN destroyed evidence of the paper’s criminal activity. In any case, in the final day of Harry’s testimony, he spoke about why he began to pursue legal action against MGN and other newspapers:
The Duke of Sussex has revealed that he was motivated to sue the tabloid newspapers over phone hacking in order to protect his wife. Prince Harry, 38, told the High Court he had been thinking about how he could defend Meghan without involving the Royal family’s own legal team.
“I think it was a discussion on how to somehow find a way to stop the abuse, intrusion and hate that was directed towards me and my wife,” he said. “And to see if there was any way to find a different course of action without relying on the institution’s lawyers.”
The Duke is suing Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) over 148 articles he alleges came from illegal activity, including phone hacking. As he took to the witness stand for a second consecutive day, it emerged that he had been introduced to his barrister, David Sherborne, by Sir Elton John. The Duke has suggested that it was Mr Sherborne’s idea to pursue legal action.
You have to remember, Harry believed that his only legal recourse was to do whatever the royal-affiliated lawyers told him to do. Those lawyers never represented Harry solo – they represented the interest of the Firm, and the Firm’s position was to never directly sue the tabloids, but to work out deals behind the scenes. Harry didn’t realize or understand that he could simply hire his own lawyer and pursue justice outside of the royal-affiliated legal team until 2019.
Anyway, even the most conservative British outlets had to admit that Harry performed well, that he didn’t lose his temper or have a breakdown on the stand. He didn’t pretend to have all the answers and he was seemingly well-prepared by his legal team. When he left the court building, fans cheered for him.
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.