Prince Harry hit with double blow in High Court privacy battle as judge rejects key claim | The Sun

PRINCE Harry's "implausible" claim there was a secret pact between newspaper chiefs and senior royals has been rejected by a High Court judge.

The Duke of Sussex claimed there was an "agreement" in place involving Buckingham Palace and executives from News Group Newspapers (NGN) as part of a wider legal battle.

Harry alleged the publisher of The Sun and the now-defunct News Of The World had hacked his phone and used investigators and deception to unlawfully gather information on him dating back two decades.

The Royal had also claimed a secret "agreement" had been made between the newspapers and the Royal Family, allegedly authorised by the late Queen.

But Mr Justice Fancourt today branded this "implausible" and "inherently unlikely" and ruled Harry's case could not rely on the allegation.

He said there was a "lack of credibility" surrounding the claim, which is only supported by evidence from his own "vague and limited" witness statement.

Read more news

Real ‘reason’ Harry & Meg were refused ‘ride on Air Force One after asking Biden’

Prince Harry’s memoir is the most dumped book of the summer

The judge also concluded Harry cannot bring a phone-hacking claim against The Sun and now-defunct News Of The World to trial.

A spokesperson for NGN, which denies any unlawful activity took place at The Sun, welcomed the result as a "significant victory".

The organisation also confirmed the group is "drawing a line under disputed matters" that date back more than 20 years.

A statement added: "In arguing his case, the Duke of Sussex had alleged a “secret agreement” existed between him/Buckingham Palace and NGN which stopped NGN from asserting that the Duke’s claim had been brought too late.

Most read in The Sun


Horror as plane crashes into field with medics & firefighters rushing to scene


David Walliams' ex Lara Stone gives birth to second son and reveals cute name


Last picture of Sinéad O’Connor shows star beaming as she accepts award


Sinéad O’Connor's tragic final post revealed after singer dies aged 56

"The Judge, Mr Justice Fancourt, found his claims in relation to the alleged “secret agreement” were not plausible or credible.

"It is quite clear there was never any such agreement and it is only the Duke who has ever asserted there was.

"Mr Justice Fancourt then dismissed the Duke’s phone hacking claims against both the News of the World and The Sun on the grounds that the claim had been brought too late.

"This substantially reduces the scope of his legal claim. The exact nature and scope of any trial of the remainder will be the subject of further hearings."

Mr Justice Fancourt ruled the rest of Harry's claim – relating to other allegations of unlawful information gathering such as the use of private investigators – could be tried.

This has been reduced significantly however as the court cannot deem all of Harry's allegations are unlawful.

The scheduled trial for this will take place in January next year.

The legal battle is one of six Harry is currently involved in at the High Court.

He has brought claims against three major newspaper publishers and a fight with the Home Office over his personal security allowance.

Source: Read Full Article