Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, arrives at the High Court in London, Britain. AFP
The Duke of Sussex has arrived at the High Court in London for a hearing in his claim against Daily Mail publisher Associated Newspapers over allegations of unlawful information-gathering.
The publisher is bringing a bid to end High Court claims brought by people including Harry, Sir Elton John and Baroness Doreen Lawrence over alleged unlawful activity at its titles.
The group of high-profile individuals, also including Sir Elton’s husband David Furnish and actresses Liz Hurley and Sadie Frost, announced in October they were bringing claims for misuse of private information against Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL).
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Their lawyers said at that time the group have “become aware of compelling and highly distressing evidence that they have been the victims of abhorrent criminal activity and gross breaches of privacy” by ANL, which is also the publisher of The Mail On Sunday and MailOnline.
In a statement announcing the launch of the legal action, released by Hamlins law firm, it was alleged the unlawful acts included hiring private investigators to secretly place listening devices inside cars and homes and the recording of private phone conversations.
The publisher hit back at the allegations, describing them at the time as “preposterous smears” and a “pre-planned and orchestrated attempt to drag the Mail titles into the phone-hacking scandal”.
A spokesperson for ANL also said the allegations were “unsubstantiated and highly defamatory claims, based on no credible evidence”.
A four-day preliminary hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice in London is due to begin at 10.30am on Monday, which is set to include ANL’s bid for the claims to be dismissed without a trial.
While there have been a number of damages claims over unlawful activity at newspapers in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal, most of which have settled, this is the first claim to be brought against ANL.
News Group Newspapers (NGN) has settled claims relating to the now-defunct News Of The World, while never admitting any liability over claims made in relation to The Sun.
Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) has settled claims relating to its titles, including The People and The Sunday Mirror.
Both publishers are facing further claims, and have recently made attempts to bring the long-running litigation to an end.
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