Prince Harry, Sir Elton John and Baroness Doreen Lawrence can continue legal case against Daily Mail publisher
Prince Harry, Sir Elton john and Baroness Doreen Lawrence have accused the publishers of the Daily Mail of unlawful information gathering
A High Court judge has ruled that the Duke of Sessex, Sir Elton John, Baroness Doreen Lawrence and others can continue their legal cases against the publishers of the Daily Mail after they accused Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL) of unlawful information gathering.
ANL had attempted to get the cases thrown out of court, however the group of high-profile people who had accused the publisher of wrongdoing have now been told that they can proceed with their action. ANL has denied all allegations of illegal information gathering.
The group of individuals in the case include Prince Harry, Sir Elton John and his husband David Furnish, mother of Stephen Lawrence Baroness Doreen Lawrence, Sadie Frost, Liz Hurley and Sir Simon Hughes. The group have accused journalists at ANL of accessing and recording private phone conversations, hiring private investigators to plant listening devices inside vehicles and accessing private records.
During the High Court hearing, Mr Justice Nicklin said: “Associated’s case against Prince Harry is that, given his position and profile, the fact that his suspicions had been aroused by the behaviour of journalists and information that was published, and his general awareness of phone-hacking by News Group Newspapers, he could with reasonable diligence have discovered sufficient facts to bring a claim for unlawful information gathering against Associated before October 2016.
He added: “This is a summary judgment application, and it may be that the point may be developed by Associated further at a trial, but at this stage it did not seem to me to be one of Associated’s strongest points, and it is certainly not a ‘knock-out’ blow." Mr Justice Nicklin also said that "fair resolution of any limitation defence…must await trial" for all claimants, stating that all seven have a "real prospect" of demonstrating possible wrongdoing by ANL.
He said: “In my judgment, each claimant has a real prospect of demonstrating that Associated, or those for whom Associated is responsible, concealed from him/her the relevant facts upon which a worthwhile claim of unlawful information gathering could have been advanced. Whilst it is common ground that the publication of any unlawful articles was not concealed, these were, on the claimants’ case, only the tip of the iceberg.