As a four-day hearing in a privacy case against the publisher of the Daily Mail got underway on Monday, the Duke of Sussex made an appearance at the High Court.
Just a few hours earlier, a picture that was making the rounds on social media showed Prince Harry flying to London while sporting a baseball cap with the words Coop Hair, Don’t Care on it.
Since his grandmother’s funeral and the late Queen’s funeral last September, as well as since the publication of his explosive tell-all memoir, Spare, in January, the Duke has not visited the UK. The Sussexes’ participation in the coronation of their father, the King, on May 6, which is just a few weeks after Harry’s trip, is still unknown.
The father of two joins six other claimants in his most recent court case, including Elizabeth Hurley and singer Sir Elton John, who have accused Associated Newspapers Limited of misusing their personal data. (ANL).
Sadie Frost, a performer, and Sir Elton John were also present in person at the hearing on Monday.
According to Harry and the other claimants’ attorneys, ANL ordered the “breaking and entering into private property,” unlawfully obtained medical records, and intercepted voicemails.
“The claimants each claim that in different ways they were the victims of numerous unlawful acts carried out by the defendant, or by those acting on the instructions of its newspapers, The Daily Mail and The Mail On Sunday,” claimed David Sherborne, who is representing the claimants, in written submissions.
The alleged illegal activity, according to Mr. Sherborne, included “illegally intercepting voicemail messages, listening into live landline calls, obtaining private information, such as itemized phone bills or medical records, by deception or “blagging,” using private investigators to carry out these illegal information gathering acts on their behalf, and even commissioning the breaking and entering into private property.”
The barrister continued, “They span a period from 1993 to 2011, even continuing beyond until 2018.”
According to ANL’s attorneys, privacy claims are “stale” and ought to be dropped without a trial.
In written submissions, Adrian Beltrami KC argued that the legal actions were brought too late.
The individuals must demonstrate that they were unaware of or could not have discovered earlier that they might have had a claim against ANL for the alleged misuse of their personal information, according to the barrister.
Those claims, he said, “are undeniably prima facie time barred” because they “relate to matters alleged to have occurred as early as 1993, and for the most part in the first decade of this century.”
It would be surprising indeed for any reasonably informed member of the public, let alone a figure in the public eye, to have been unaware of these matters, according to Mr. Beltrami, more than ten years after the Leveson Inquiry and numerous criminal and civil proceedings over phone hacking.
The court should not be reluctant to dismiss these stale claims at an early stage in order to avoid what would otherwise be a significant waste of time, money, and court resources. He continued: “The claimants have failed to show that they have a real prospect of discharging their burden at trial.”