By Michael Holden and Sam Tobin
LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s Prince Harry appeared for a second day at London’s High Court on Tuesday, where he and six other high-profile figures are suing the publisher of the Daily Mail tabloid newspaper over phone-hacking and other privacy breaches.
Harry, the son of King Charles, was joined by singer Elton John, his husband David Furnish, actors Sadie Frost and Liz Hurley, campaigner Doreen Lawrence, whose son was murdered in a racist attack, and former lawmaker Simon Hughes, at court on Monday for the start of a four-day preliminary hearing in their case against Associated Newspapers.
They allege they were the victims of “numerous unlawful acts” carried out by journalists or private investigators working on behalf of Associated titles, the Daily Mail and the Mail on Sunday.
These include the hacking of mobile phone messages, the bugging of phone calls, obtaining private information by deception or “blagging”, and “commissioning the breaking and entry into private property” over a possible 25-year period, according to their lawyers and court documents.
Associated categorically denies the allegations. It is seeking to have the case thrown out, arguing the claims fall outside a time limit for legal action, and that some breach an order made during a year-long public inquiry into press standards which began in 2011.
In a statement late on Monday, it said that a private investigator, whose evidence had provided a key part of the case brought by Harry and the other claimants, had now signed a witness statement denying the allegations he had made to their lawyers. His statement said he now denied acting illegally on behalf of Associated.
The lawsuit is one of three cases in which the British prince is involved at the High Court. He is also suing the Mail for libel and is expected to appear as a witness in May to give evidence in a trial against the Daily Mirror newspaper over accusations of phone-hacking.
(Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Bernadette Baum)