Prince Harry will receive a “substantial” payout from a British newspaper that hacked his phone for stories to bring the case to an end.
The Duke of Sussex had already been awarded £140,600 ($268,000) in damages in December after the High Court in London found Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) was at fault.
Prince Harry’s lawyer, David Sherborne said MGN will pay the Duke £400,000 ($774,500) to cover his legal fees.
It’s thought MGN’s legal costs could top £2 million ($3.87m).
While the settlement amount has not been disclosed, it’s likely the various payouts and recovered court costs could see more than a million dollars go into the Sussex’s bank account.
Piers Morgan ‘knew perfectly well’ – Harry
In December, the court ruled that at least 15 stories published in MGN newspapers about the prince were a result of his phone being illegally hacked into.
MGN, now part of media company Reach, published the Mirror and Sunday People newspapers.
With the court case finished, Prince Harry took direct aim at former Mirror editor Piers Morgan
In a statement via his solicitor, Harry said the now commentator and presenter “knew perfectly well” what was happening when he edited the paper.
“Even his own employer realised it simply could not call him as a witness of truth at the trial.
“His contempt for the court’s ruling and his continued attacks ever since demonstrate why it was so important to obtain a clear and detailed Judgement.”
It’s a claim that Morgan has vehemently denied. In December he said he had “zero knowledge” of the one article about Prince Harry that could be directly linked to phone hacking while he was editor.
He said he had “never hacked a phone” while editor or told anyone else to do so.
“Nobody has provided any actual evidence to prove that I did.”
In Friday’s statement, Harry continued: “I believe in the positive change it will bring for all of us. It’s the very reason why I started this, and why I will continue to see it through to the end.”
At least 15 stories from hacking
The royal claimed he was targeted for 15 years and more than 140 stories published in MGN’s newspapers were a result of unlawful information gathering.
The December trial only considered 33 of these, with Justice Fancourt ruling 15 of the sample articles were “the product of phone hacking … or the product of other unlawful information gathering”.
In his judgment, Justice Fancourt said Prince Harry had a “tendency” to assume all articles about him were the products of hacking, though he was right on some occasions.
“I have found the duke’s case of voicemail interception and unlawful information gathering proved in part only,” Justice Fancourt said.
“I consider that his phone was only hacked to a modest extent and that this was probably carefully controlled by certain people at each newspaper.
“However, it did happen on occasions from about the end of 2003 to April 2009 (which was the date of the last article that I examined).
“There was a tendency for the duke in his evidence to assume that everything published was the product of voicemail interception because phone hacking was rife within Mirror Group at the time.
“But, phone hacking was not the only journalistic tool at the time and his claims in relation to the other 18 articles did not stand up to careful analysis.”
In his judgment on the case in December Judge Timothy Fancourt, said there could “be no doubt” Piers Morgan knew that hacking was taking place and that he and ex-Mirror CEO Sly Bailey “turned a blind eye”.
MGN apologised for the confirmed hacking incidents.
In a statement, a spokesman for the publisher said: “We welcome today’s judgment that gives the business the necessary clarity to move forward from events that took place many years ago.
“Where historical wrongdoing took place, we apologise unreservedly, have taken full responsibility and paid appropriate compensation.”