$180K verdict: Prince Harry wins British tabloid phone hacking lawsuit

Prince Harry

Prince Harry has won his lawsuit against the publisher of the Daily Mirror.

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The High Court awarded the prince $180,000 after determining that the hacking was “widespread and habitual” at Mirror Group Newspapers and that private investigators “were an integral part of the system” to get information unlawfully, The Associated Press reported.

The court said that executives knew what was happening but covered it up.

The justice presiding over the case calculated the damages he awarded to Harry on 15 of the 33 newspaper articles examined at trial that were written based on unlawful information gathering and misuse of Harry’s private information, according to the AP. The justice added money for aggravated damages because the directors at the Trinity Mirror knew what was happening and did nothing to stop it.

The Mirror denied using illegal methods in 28 of the articles in question and said nothing about the remaining five.

A lawyer for the Mirror Group said that the information was obtained from royal family press officers and other legal sources, The New York Times reported.

Most were from 1991 to 2011, when he was still third in line to the throne behind now-King Charles III and Prince William, the newspaper reported.

Harry had asked for $560,000 and had testified in court over two days in June, making him the first senior member of the royal family to testify in court in more than 100 years.

Typically, the royal family remains quiet when dealing with the British tabloids, with the Times calling it the royals’ more “reserved approach.”

“I believe that phone hacking was at an industrial scale across at least three of the papers at the time,” Harry told the court, according to the AP. “That is beyond any doubt.”

The Mirror Group released a statement after the decision that says the ruling “gives the business the necessary clarity to move forward from events that took place many years ago.”

“Where historical wrongdoing took place, we apologize unreservedly, have taken full responsibility and paid appropriate compensation,” it added, according to the Times.

Harry has filed three lawsuits against separate tabloid publishers, accusing them of gathering information through hacking or other illegal means. He’s using the cases to reform the media, blaming them in his book “Spare” for causing the crash that killed his mother, Princess Diana, and for forcing him and his wife, Meghan, to step down as working royals.

Harry wrote in this case that editors and journalists had “blood on their hands” because of the death of his mother, the Times reported.

He had filed suit against the publisher of The Sun, claiming hacking, but that case was thrown out. He and Hugh Grant are also suing News Group Newspapers, saying that writers used illegal means to gather information on both of them.

That case will go to trial in January, the Times reported.

In a separate case related to Harry’s allegations that he was libeled by the publisher of the Daily Mail, the prince was ordered to pay. On Monday, he was ordered to pay $60,000 in legal fees after the suit failed in court, NBC News reported. That case covered an article that said that he tried to hide that he was asking for security paid for by the U.K. government.

Harry said the article was inaccurate and that it defamed him, but the justice said that the article was an “honest opinion” and not libelous.