- PRINCE HARRY case to claim newspapers paid shadowy Private Eyes to snoop on Princess Diana and her associates – while editors pretended to be on her side
- RUPERT MURDOCH’S News UK CEO Rebekah Brooks WILL be dragged back into the hacking scandal
- BROOKS was the editor of The Sun while hacking was alleged to be rife – and headed Murdoch’s company during alleged major cover-up of phone hacking
- DUKE OF SUSSEX is likely to characterise Mirror and Sun executives as guilty participants who sought meticulously to cover their tracks for over two decades
- ALLEGATIONS include sophisticated concealment and destruction of evidence, involving top in-house lawyers and board members
PRINCE Harry’s explosive phone hacking cases are likely to allege The Sun and The Mirror tabloids intercepted the voicemails of his mother Princess Diana, Byline Investigates can reveal.
His claim – if as expected follows the format of other hacking cases to pass through the High Court – will stretch back to include allegations of reporters and private investigators listening to messages about the Prince left on his mother’s phone when he was a child.
Voicemails from, or about, the now 35-year-old Duke of Sussex were also likely to have been left on the phones of Princess Diana’s confidantes and staff, which being targeted by Mirror and News of The World journalists.
The claim will also explore whether, even after her death in August 1997, private investigators were hired to illegally target her friends and family.
Piers Morgan and Rebekah Brooks, two of the most powerful figures in British media, have already been named as alleged conspirators in various illegal cover-ups of hacking and blagging at The Sun, News of the World and Mirror titles.
And legal sources with knowledge of the litigation say they can see no reason why the Duke’s claim will be any different.
Byline Investigates was first to reveal yesterday that Harry had filed hacking claims against News Group Newspapers and Mirror Group Newspapers for allegedly misusing his private information.
It is understood that Morgan and Brooks will be named in part of the “generic” elements of the law suit, which are common to all claimants in the two set of managed group litigation, which is already moving through the High Court.
Prince Harry is not the only alleged victim suing The Sun and the Daily Mirror. Scores of other victims are already registered in the current wave of litigation. There are said to be hundreds, and probably thousands, more, claimants who could sue if they knew they had been targeted. Mirror Group and News Group have each settled hundreds of claims for tens of millions of pounds, with even more in legal fees.
Piers Morgan was Editor of the News of the World in 1994-5 when hacking phones and use of illegal private investigators was beginning.
In 1995, he became Editor-in-Chief of all three Mirror titles, including The People and Sunday Mirror, until 2004, when criminal activity was in full swing.
Although Rebekah Brooks was cleared of phone hacking at a criminal trial in 2014, she has recently faced further allegations of perjury and fraudulent concealment after new whistleblowers come forward, and fresh evidence surfaced in the High Court litigation.
Today, Piers Morgan is a television host on ITV’s Good Morning show and a columnist for the MailOnline.
Rebekah Brooks is still CEO of Rupert Murdoch’s British publishing wing News UK, despite crippling losses suffered under her watch.
Both have denied, including on oath, any wrongdoing and knowing of any illegal acts which took place during their careers.
However, Byline Investigates can reveal that allegations of phone hacking will only form one aspect of the Prince’s legal case.
The generic allegations in documents due to be served by the Duke of Sussex accuse The Sun and The Mirror of behaving more like organised crime groups than newspapers.
His claim will. like the others, include allegations that the papers’ editors and executives mounted an industrial-scale cover-up of serious criminality for more than twenty years.
Yesterday, Byline Investigates exclusively revealed that the Duke of Sussex is suing for unlawful information gathering. But today we can reveal the nature of two additional strands of the case.
Against Rupert Murdoch’s News Group Newspapers, Prince Harry will run what is known as the ‘concealment and destruction’ case.
Within this strand of legal argument, Prince Harry will allege that editors, lawyers, managers and reporters at The Sun concealed voicemail interception from the very beginning of its use in the mid to late 90s.
Then, at various points when there was a risk of the crimes becoming public, they actively destroyed evidence such as mobile phones, laptops and documents.
The most serious allegations relate to the deletion of millions of emails at the News of the World and The Sun beginning in 2011.
The ‘concealment and destruction case’ was first raised by other victims of phone hacking two years ago in the High Court.
Prince Harry’s claim will incorporate the existing case, but it is expected to significantly strengthen it because of his stature, and the nature of his own case-specific allegations.
Against the Mirror Group, Prince Harry will run what’s known as ‘“board and lawyer knowledge” or “fraudulent concealment” case.
This case alleges that many Mirror bosses knowingly told lies about phone hacking by denying it happened for a decade, and that the newspapers’ lawyers, and members of the Mirror’s board must have known that the practice went on and covered it up.
Mirror Group deny all allegations of a cover-up. News Group Newspapers either deny or do not admit all such allegations.