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Prince Harry To Return To UK After New Case Against Murdoch Newspaper Gets The Go-Ahead

Well, this will be juicy...
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Prince Harry’s courtroom saga continues as the young royal received court approval to bring a case against the Rupert Murdoch-owned publisher News Group Newspapers (NGN).

Harry intended to sue NGN—which publishes The Sun and formerly News Of The World—for allegedly targeting him with phone hacking, use of private investigators and other alleged unlawful information gathering. However, the publisher requested in April that the case be thrown out, suggesting it had been brought too late.

On July 27, a High Court judge ruled that, although the phone hacking charges were indeed too late, Prince Harry could proceed with a trial pertaining to the other allegations. 

Prince Harry has been given approval to proceed with a trial against the Sun. (Credit: Getty)

If you’re thinking the Duke of Sussex has spent a lot of time in the UK courts recently, you’d not be wrong.

Earlier this year he testified in court as part of a lawsuit against Daily Mail publisher, Associated Newspapers Limited. Prince Harry was among several celebrity claimants, including Elton John and Elizabeth Hurley

Here’s what we know about the case to-come.

What Charges Is Harry Bringing Against News Group Newspapers?

Harry initially sought to bring charges of alleged phone hacking, as well as unlawful information gathering (UIG) against the publisher of The Sun.

Now that the court has ruled it’s too late for Harry to proceed with phone hacking charges, it has granted him permission to proceed with other allegations of UIG, including the use of private investigators. 

Further details of Harry’s case are not yet known but will become clear in the 2024 trial. 

Prince Harry has previously accused other publishers of similar unlawful information gathering tactics. (Credit: Getty)

Why Couldn’t Prince Harry Proceed With His Phone Hacking Allegations?

NGN, which denies Prince Harry’s claims, argued he could not proceed with charges due to a six-year limitation. 

In turn, Harry’s legal team argued that the Duke was unable to bring his case to court at the time due to a “secret agreement” between the royal family and NGN.

Harry alleged this “secret agreement” involved the royal family delaying legal proceedings in return for an apology, the Guardian reports.

Meanwhile, NGN denied the existence of any agreement. 

Harry’s lawyers also suggested that, although Harry was aware of the infamous phone hacking scandal, he was not aware it had taken place at The Sun.

The judge sided with NGN, concluding that Prince Harry could not prove he “did not know and could not with reasonable diligence have discovered facts that would show that he had a worthwhile claim for voicemail interception in relation to each of the News of the World and The Sun.”

“He already knew that in relation to the News of the World, and he could easily have found out by making basic inquiries that he was likely to have a similar claim in relation to articles published by The Sun,” Judge, Mr Justice Fancourt, wrote in his ruling. 

A spokesperson for NGN described the High Court’s decision as “a significant victory”, adding that the ruling “substantially reduces the scope of [Prince Harry’s] legal claim. The exact nature and scope of any trial of the remainder will be the subject of further hearings.”

When Will The Trial Begin?

While no official date has been set, the trial is expected to proceed in January 2024. 

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