A four-day preliminary hearing started today in London regarding a possible wiretapping scandal against Prince Harry and other British celebrities.
Along with Elton John, among others, Harry accuses the British tabloid newspaper Daily Mail publisher of “gross violations of privacy”. The fact that the Duke of Sussex appeared at the courthouse this morning shows how seriously he takes the matter.
It was a huge surprise to the British press: Prince Harry travelled from the United States to London especially to attend the first hearing. Accompanied by his bodyguards and under the keen eye of many photographers, he even smiled on his way to court. With his presence, Harry undoubtedly hopes to strengthen his case.
The allegations date back to October. Then it became known that Harry, in coalition with some other British celebrities, wanted to take publisher Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL) to court. He accuses the media company of illegally obtaining private information to feed the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday newspapers. Sir Elton John and actresses Sadie Frost and Liz Hurley also presented themselves as victims in the case.
Specifically, Harry and co accuse the newspapers of hiring private investigators to install eavesdropping devices in the homes and cars of the celebrities. They also allegedly eavesdropped on conversations and illegally obtained bank statements and medical information.
ANL disputes all allegations. “We completely and unequivocally refute this ridiculous slander. These unsubstantiated claims seem like a pre-planned attempt to drag the Mail titles into the phone hacking scandal over articles up to 30 years old,” the company said in a statement. ANL thus refers to facts that were proven in 2011. The British newspaper News of the World was then disbanded after it was found that they had hacked into several phones belonging to royals and other people.
Monday started day one of a four-day preparatory session. First, a judge will decide whether the case can proceed based on the various legal arguments.