The judge ruled that Prince Harry’s case against the Mail can move to trial

The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was treating the British media’s criminal surveillance of citizens and royals as a “privacy issue.” The argument of “it’s illegal to tap my phone and surveil my text messages” isn’t a privacy issue, it’s a criminal issue. Just something to keep in mind when you’re reading all of the headlines about how Prince Harry’s “privacy case” can move ahead. The news came out this morning – Prince Harry, Elton John, Elizabeth Hurley and others can take their case against the ANL/The Daily Mail to trial. ANL sought to have their case dismissed back in March. Prince Harry, Elton and others went to court for the hearings, and now the judge has made his ruling that their cases will not be dismissed.

Prince Harry and stars including Sir Elton John and Liz Hurley have won their bid to take the publisher of the Daily Mail to trial over alleged phone-tapping and other breaches of privacy.

Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL) stood accused of carrying out or commissioning unlawful information gathering, such as hiring private investigators to placing listening devices inside cars, “blagging” private records, and accessing and recording private phone conversations.

The publisher “firmly” denied the allegations. At a preliminary hearing in March, its legal team asked Mr Justice Nicklin to rule in its favour without a trial, arguing the legal challenge had been brought “far too late”.

But in a ruling on Friday, Mr Justice Nicklin said ANL had “not been able to deliver a ‘knockout blow’ to the claims of any of these claimants”.

In his 95-page judgment, he said each of the seven people have a “real prospect” of demonstrating ANL concealed “relevant facts” that would have allowed them to bring a claim against the publisher earlier.

“I consider that each claimant has a real prospect of demonstrating concealment by Associated that was not — and could not with reasonable diligence have been — discovered by the relevant claimant before October 2016,” Judge Matthew Nicklin said in his ruling. “What was deliberately hidden from the claimants – if they are correct in their allegations – were the underlying unlawful acts that are alleged to have been used to obtain information for subsequent publication.”

Actor Hugh Grant, who is a board director for Hacked Off, a press reform campaign group, described the ruling as a “significant blow to the Daily Mail”. He added it is “great news” for anyone who “wants the truth about allegations of illegal press practices to come out”.

Harry brought the privacy case along with six others, including Sir Elton’s husband David Furnish, actress and designer Sadie Frost, Baroness Doreen Lawrence, and former Liberal Democrat MP Sir Simon Hughes.

[From Sky News]

It’s great news for Harry, Elton, Elizabeth and everyone else involved in what amounts to a larger class-action suit against ANL. The fact that the judge believes that they can prove that ANL used criminal methods to surveil them is a big deal. There’s still a long way to go though. This too is part of Harry’s mission – to change the practices of the British media, to get some form of accountability and justice.

Update: Prince Harry’s lawyers made a statement about the judge’s decision, saying: “We are delighted with today’s decision which allows our claims over serious criminal activity and gross breaches of privacy by the Mail titles to proceed to trial. The High Court has dismissed ‘without difficulty’ the attempt by Associated Newspapers to throw these cases out. Indeed, the Judge found that each of our claims had a real prospect of showing there was concealment of unlawful acts by the Mail titles and that this could not have been discovered until recently. Our claims can now proceed to trial.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Backgrid.

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47 Responses to “The judge ruled that Prince Harry’s case against the Mail can move to trial”

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  1. Maxine Branch says:

    Those gutter rags have been viciously assaulting the character of this man and his wife, tried to ambush them in New York. I hope he racks them over the coals.

    • Taytanish says:

      What happened and is still happening in the British tabloids is a conspiracy between Charles, William (and their palace goons) and the BM to try to bury the Sussexes in negative press, hoping their smear campaigns will bring about the Sussexes demise/fall from grace. But I view the Sussexes’ ambush in NYC was a plot too similar and/or identical to prince Diana’s demise. I do and will always believe that it was a plot sanctioned by Charles and William to attempt to have “Harry and Meg killed in a car crash as they were being chased by paparazzi”.

      • Interested Gawker says:

        I agree but I think they believed Meghan was going to be by herself that night; at least one of the newspapers suggested that it was a “surprise appearance” by Harry at those awards because they Sussexes hadn’t announced beforehand he was joining her.

        I think they wanted to frame her (also find out where she was staying and threaten her safety) Accuse her of calling the paps herself and trying to manipulate Harry by replicating the same sort of chase that killed his mother. Because of Harry explaining himself in Spare, trying to suggest he would agree to join in on a plan like that too was impossible and the BM ended up with a more limp form of ridicule of the Sussexes rather than the attack on Meghan they hoped for.

    • PrincessK says:

      It has also been revealed that Murdoch provided some start up funding for the EarthFlop Prize, even though Murdoch is a climate sceptic.

  2. Yes this is good. Justice is good but unfortunately it moves so slowly. I hope that for all involved that they get the justice they deserve and that it costs millions and millions that the rags have to pay and that it puts them out of business. One can hope.

    • Leslie says:

      I so admire Harry for going forward with this case. He didn’t have to pursue this case and face the wrath of the entire RF, BM, and those sycophantic derangers, but he did, because it’s right. I, too, hope that justice is served and the entire evil gutter press is finally eliminated.

      • anotherlily says:

        @Leslie I totally agree. Harry is fighting for truth and justice. He won’t give up.

        I will also add that he has grown into a very handsome man. He resembles Prince Philip. William resembles the other grandfather John Spencer who was also regarded as good looking in his younger days before it all went pear-shaped.

  3. Amy Bee says:

    Good for Harry and the others.

  4. Steph says:

    I’m happy for them! Just to be clear: this is a lawsuit not a criminal case, right? If they win what would happen with ANL? Would they just have to payout or will there be other punishment?

    • Juls says:

      This should be criminal case, so they could all go to Jail starting with Piers Morgan, Angela Levin, Jeremy Clarkson, Candace Owens and Megan Kelly they all deserve to go to Jail for the way the treat both Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan and her sister Samantha she have the nerve to be suing her, she should be ashamed of herself for doing so.

  5. Jais says:

    Well this is some truly excellent Friday news. And I love the way @kaiser covers their “neat trick” of branding a criminal case into a privacy case. Its so true. These are criminal acts. These are not just people crying about their privacy as they’d like to have you believe. These are criminal acts.

    • Steph says:

      While we all agree that the actions of ANL are criminal, is this actually a criminal case?

      • Jais says:

        Hmm, a court case about criminal acts then?

      • Becks1 says:

        No, this is a civil case.

        ETA but at least in the US, you can bring a civil case about criminal acts – think of Nicole Simpson’s family suing OJ Simpson. But the government is who tries a criminal case (in the form of a state’s attorney, DOJ, etc.)

      • Jaded says:

        It’s a civil case, but the difference is civil cases usually involve disputes between people or organizations while criminal cases allege a violation of a criminal law.
        Also, crimes must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, whereas civil claims are proven by lower standards of proof, such as a preponderance of evidence, so even though the acts committed by ANL in this trial look like crimes, it doesn’t require 100% proof to win.

    • bisynaptic says:

      It’s a criminal breach-of-privacy case, being litigated in a civil court.

  6. seaflower says:


  7. equality says:

    I love how their defense isn’t “we wouldn’t behave so unethically”, but “nah, nah, it’s too late to file”. What tools. There shouldn’t be limits on someone getting justice for something like this if the police/government are unwilling to pursue the case for the criminal acts they committed. It’s not like the info gathered hasn’t been used again and again in the media. To deny a case, the media should have to demonstrate that there are absolutely no stories still out there related to illegally-obtained info. Bet they couldn’t do that.

  8. Brit says:

    Go Harry! I really don’t think the press and family understand that this man is done and over them. Looking at some of the clips this morning, these people were not expecting this to go to trial. I think some in the media are scared of Harry and are furious with the royal family. That invisible contract is going to implode by Harry’s actions alone.

  9. YeahRight says:

    This is great news! The gutter tactics that these rags used to get information about these people are downright disgusting. They may be celebrities but they are also human beings at the end of the day.

  10. Roo says:

    Was there a criminal case ever brought against the bad actors?

    • sevenblue says:

      There was the Leveson Inquiry in 2011, which led to the closure of Murdoch’s News of the World. But, they didn’t let it go too far. The second part of the inquiry was dropped eventually. The same journalists at the time are still in the game. They just gave a few sacrificial lambs to the inquiry.

  11. Harla A Brazen Hussy says:

    I can hear Will’s screaming all the way over here in California! The Mail is going to start yanking on his and Charles’ chains due to their inability to get Harry to drop this case! My popcorn and wine are topped off and ready for drama!!

    • Laura D says:

      “William took the money, Harry took the stand” 😉

      I wonder who William and Charles will “feed” to the wolves to save their sorry backsides? The Middletons? Uncle Gary? Kate’s unhealthy lifestyle? Kate’s fragility in public? The Mail has it’s back against the wall so, it needs a good story. William’s dark secrets?

      The Mail will (of course) smear Harry but, the public will see through that ploy this time around. The paper needs a distraction so, William and Charles had better come up with something and they better make it quick!

      • PrincessK says:

        Yes, and the Royal Foundation accounts show a figure in excess of £1 million pounds from an unnamed funder, with the money being split between EarthFlop and Early Years.

  12. sevenblue says:

    So happy for Harry and other claimants searching for justice since British government isn’t willing or capable to get justice for its citizens from tabloid media. I remember how giddy they were at the possibility of deposing Meghan in her copyright lawsuit. Instead, God gave them the ginger Prince. You should be careful what you wish for.

  13. Harper says:

    Mr. Justice Man continues to wreak havoc on the status quo of tabloid treachery!

  14. Digital Unicorn says:

    Yay for Harry and the others – certain royal family members must be bricking it about now, they are about to get exposed in a public court of law. We KNOW family members were leaking directly, not just their lackeys.

  15. ThatsNotOkay says:

    It’s weird how wrongdoers operate by the “too late to file so I’m in the free and clear” way of life.

    Great news for all the claimants and here’s hoping it leads to an ethical yet still free press.

  16. Milady Digby says:

    Doreen Lawrence mother of Stephen, who was the victim of a racist murder, is one of the litigants here. ANL must be quaking in their boots because it is especially despicable given their public stance of championing her cause for justice for her son. They burnished their support to bring Stephen Lawrence’s murders to justice whilst nastily and covertly surveiling her home, phone and bank accounts??? There is NO justification for any surveillance of Doreen and certainly NOT when they publicly claimed to be championing her righteous search for justice over years. ANL would brandish this case as PROOF of how their fierce less journalism got justice for the Lawrence family.
    Millie Dowler phone hacking brought down News of The World and if it its proved that ANL bugged Doreen Lawrence etc., then it should be curtains for them to.

  17. Becks1 says:

    This is a really good ruling and not just b/c its Harry. Their defense is basically “they should have brought these claims earlier” and the claimants are saying “we didn’t KNOW about these illegal acts because the defendants concealed them from us, so how could we have brought the claim earlier?”

  18. Lissen says:

    Leadership in action. Prince Harry leads the way. Let all those who have been violated and wronged by the tabloids line up behind him and the his fellow litigants. Let justice prevail.

  19. Mary Pester says:

    Will no one think of camzilla? Just imagine what this poor FK UGLY, LIEING SCHEMING BCH must be going through, knowing that her tame little paps are going to have to testify!
    I wonder how many foreign tours and runs to Scotland are being planned by Charlie and the incandescent one. Poor, poor little keen, super glue those wiglets on girl because it’s going to be interesting for YOU and your mum.
    Go get them Harry, they have no where to hide now, and I repeat what I first said last year, William has a price tag, HARRY has a spine

    • Jais says:

      Yep @mary pester, it’s a sad for Camilla as so many of her good friends will be going to court.

      • Mary Pester says:

        @Jais, can you see the next set of figures for the economy!? Gin sales will be through the roof 😂👌, and I can’t wait to see who breaks cover first and starts writing some shade on Queen cam and Charlie chinless.!

  20. QuiteContrary says:

    They messed with the wrong brother. Good for Harry!

  21. JJ says:

    The UK papers and the firm are just in the “finding out” phase of all the f–cking around they pulled on Harry and Meghan. Karmic justice.

  22. Chantale says:

    Sometimes people tolerate being abused themselves but once you abuse their love ones they come out swinging.

    Do not F*ck around with a good soldier! They will strategize and get back at you. They might not always win but they will try their hardest for the sake of goodness.

    Happy Veteran’s Day Prince Harry and to all the good soldiers outhere!

    How fitting that his case can proceed this week and this day. The universe has its plans. May it helps reverse the course of the wrong that have been done to this man and his family.

  23. Ace says:

    I’m so glad they’re able to sue the Fail. Considering their defense was “you’re too late” you’d think it’d be a no brainer for trial to be allowed but you never know.

  24. Aidee Kay says:

    So proud of PH. Rooting for him and the others to burn this disgusting org to the ground.

  25. Chantal says:

    FAFO and karma! Hope they prevail and financially destroy these rags and their unscrupulous owners! Get em Harry et al!

  26. Saucy&Sassy says:

    This case is going to be very interesting to watch. What the Fail is going to deal with is that Harry isn’t the only one they have to worry about. If Harry wasn’t part of this case starting today (won’t happen), everyone else would go forward. There isn’t any way for the Fail to stop this from happening.

    I want to know what will happen to the people who performed criminal acts. I wonder if any of them will be held accountable. I can’t wait to see what P!ss Morgan will say and whether he gets charged because of his testimony in Levinson.

  27. LynnInTX says:

    What’s the statute of limitations for perjury in the UK?

    IIRC the Fail testified during Leveson they did NOT use any illegal tactics like the other papers did. And then, during the lead up to this case, didn’t someone from the Fail openly admit they did, in fact, use illegal tactics – but it was so long ago it’s too late to bring a lawsuit? That’s admitting to perjury.

    • kirk says:

      The biggest problem re: prior Leveson inquiry, if I understand correctly, is that they turned over ledgers showing payments to various actors to spy on people, possibly including the claimants. Those ledgers cannot currently be allowed in court due to Leveson agreements. Quite likely they will have to drag the info, slowly but surely, out of the Fail during court.