Prince Harry, Elton John, and several other prominent British figures have been given the green light to continue with their legal case against the publisher of the Daily Mail. A judge made the ruling after Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL) attempted to have the cases thrown out in London’s high court.
Legal action was brought against ANL by Prince, Harry, Elton John, Lady Doreen Lawrence, David Furnish, Sadie Frost, Liz Hurley, and Sir Simon Hughes for unlawful information gathering and “gross breaches of privacy.” The claims include allegations of illegal activity, including homes being bugged, deceptive tactics used to obtain private medical information, and the tapping of live phone calls.
ANL has called the claims “preposterous smears.” In March, the publisher asked a judge to rule in its favor without a trial, saying the legal challenges against them were brought “far too late.” Today, however, Justice Nicklin said ANL had “not been able to deliver a ‘knockout blow’ to the claims of any of these claimants.”
“Each claimant has a real prospect of demonstrating that Associated, or those for whom Associated is responsible, concealed from him/her the relevant facts upon which a worthwhile claim of unlawful information gathering could have been advanced,” Justice Nicklin said.
David Sherborne, who is representing Prince Harry, said ANL’s attempt to have the claims ended was as “ambitious as it is unattractive.” He added that the members of group each had a “compelling case.”
In March, Prince Harry made a surprise appearance in London’s High Court to support the legal suit. In a written submission, he told the judge he had suffered from “suspicion and paranoia” caused by ANL’s actions.
The cases against ANL and the Daily Mail coincide with another high profile case against the Rupert Murdoch-owned News Group Newspapers. In July, a judge ruled that Prince Harry’s snooping lawsuit can go to trial, albeit without one of its most damning allegations. Like his other ongoing lawsuit against the Mirror Group’s tabloids — for which Prince Harry testified against in June — the Duke of Sussex had also sued The Sun and the now-defunct News Of The World, accusing the newspapers of hacking his phone over a decade ago.
In his testimony against The Mirror, The Sunday Mirror, and The Sunday People, Prince Harry said “some editors and journalists do have blood on their hands.”
Hugh Grant, who has campaigned for press reforms, spoke out about today’s ruling, according to the BBC. The actor noted, “This ruling is a significant blow to the Daily Mail and great news for anyone who wants the truth about allegations of illegal press practices to come out.”